IMPHAL, May 15:Smile Train India, country’s largest cleft charity, has successfully completed over 11,000 free cleft lip and palate reconstructive surgeries across the North East States through a network of 7 partner hospitals (Institute of Women and Child Health in Guwahati, Srishti Hospital iin Dibrugarh, Mediland Hospital in Silchar, NIBA Hospital in Naharlagun, Greenwood Hospital in Aizawl, Shija Hospitals in Imphal and Woodland Hospital in Shillong) in just 15 years.
Smile Train India and its partner hospitals have organized a cleft week in these North East States between April 17 and April 24, 2017.
During the observance, hospitals undertook extensive outreach to create awareness that cleft lip and palate can be treated by surgery.
Smile Train cleft centres provide free cleft surgeries to cleft lip and palate patients 365 days in a year. The objective of the program is to sensitize the community about clefts and identify patients with untreated clefts.
It is estimated that in India, 35,000 children are born with clefts every year and there is a backlog of over a million.
The cleft week kicked-off at Shija Hospitals, Langol, Imphal by surgeons including Dr Kh Bonney (Project Director, Smile Train Shija Cleft Project).
Awareness programs for members from Border Security Force and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan were also organized at the hospital.
Greenwood Hospital in Aizawl also organized training for Asha workers to help them identify patients and direct them to the nearest Smile Train Hospital.
Awareness camps for school children were also set up by the partner hospitals to sensitize children about the cause.
The Institute for Women and Child Health, Guwahati organized a refresher training for nurses.
In addition, the partner hospitals also undertook rallies and awareness campaigns to create awareness about clefts.
Congratulating the partner surgeons on this initiative, Renu Mehta, country director, Smile Train India shared, “Initiatives like these help spread awareness and also ensure integration of children with cleft in the mainstream society. It is the enthusiasm of our partners and former patients in helping spread a smile, that enable us to take up such initiatives. We have provided over 11,000 free cleft lip and palate surgeries in the States of North East India over the last 15 years and cleft patients can walk into any Smile Train partner hospital 365 days in a year for any cleft related query. We hope to reach out to many more children and their families.”
Source: The Sangai Express