Worldwide, clefts and other craniofacial conditions affect millions of children. These anomalies can be congenital- like clefts as well as conditions acquired as a result of trauma, burns and other diseases. In India alone, 35,000 children are born with clefts every year. A cleft or a craniofacial anomaly is usually not life-threatening but it is heartbreaking. Children with such conditions often face a life of isolation, are ridiculed by their peers, have problems in eating, speaking and breathing along limited education and employment opportunities.
NCCAPM is a worldwide effort dedicated to creating awareness about these anomalies and also an opportunity to bring to the forefront that birth anomalies like cleft lip and palate can be completely treated by a simple surgery.
Smile Train is an active partner of this effort, and though our commitment remains year round, we pledge to strengthen it during this month. Last year in July, we launched ‘cleft weeks’- an outreach program where we engaged our partner hospitals to support our efforts to create awareness around clefts in a more structured way.
This year, during NCCAPM, we are thanking all our Smile Makers — individuals and organizations who have supported our efforts through the year. From our partner doctors to nurses, from parents of the patients to our donors, from our outreach workers to celebrity goodwill ambassadors, we have met Smile Makers in many forms, who have made our journey blissful. With their support, dedication and commitment, Smile Train has been able to provide many more children with free surgeries and comprehensive care in their local communities.
We urge you to join our efforts and help us create more awareness around this correctable deformity. In a country like India, these efforts need to be strengthened further, as over 60% patients continue to believe that clefts are God’s will.
Smile Train Team
* The views expressed are those of the author. They may or may not reflect Smile Train's position.