Smile Train Celebrates Milestone of 700,000 Free Cleft Surgeries in India

Our Bureau

Smile Train, the world’s largest NGO focused on cleft care, has achieved a remarkable milestone in India by providing over 700,000 life-changing and free cleft surgeries through their network of 150+ partner hospitals across the country. Susannah Schaefer, Smile Train’s President and CEO, made the announcement during her visit to Bengaluru, where she highlighted the ongoing efforts to expand their cleft care footprint in India.

The organization not only provides safe, high-quality surgical care but also non-surgical cleft treatments such as nutrition and feeding support, orthodontic services, speech therapy, and psychosocial counseling to ensure the long-term, successful rehabilitation of every patient. This approach has led to tremendous growth in the number of partner hospitals and patients receiving treatment every year.

India has one of Smile Train’s largest programs globally, with over 35,000 babies born with a cleft every year. Children with untreated clefts can face difficulties in eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking, which can significantly affect their quality of life. However, Smile Train empowers local doctors and hospitals with the funding, training, and resources to provide free, life-changing care to all in need, every day of the year.

Susannah Schaefer, President and CEO of Smile Train, expressed her pride in the achievement, stating, “The 700,000th surgery milestone is a significant achievement, and our focus for the future remains expanding our comprehensive programs to ensure access to safe, free, high-quality cleft care for every child in need.”

Mamta Carroll, Vice President & Regional Director for Asia, Smile Train added, “We remain cognizant that we have a long way to go to ensure comprehensive cleft care for every child in need, while remaining committed to our values. Our extensive network of partner hospitals, medical experts, goodwill ambassadors, and generous donors has been instrumental in helping us reach this significant milestone.”

Smile Train’s partnerships with like-minded medical and government-led organizations such as National Health Mission’s Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK), Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), and National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) have been essential in driving early diagnosis and intervention for children with clefts and enhancing the safety and quality of surgical care at treatment centers across the country.

Through every surgery, Smile Train continues to build awareness and further education to reduce stigma and ensure acceptance for people with clefts in India and around the world. This significant milestone is a testament to Smile Train’s unwavering commitment to providing safe, free, and high-quality cleft care to every child in need.

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