Bhubaneswar: Smile Train India, an international cleft care charitable organization – and its partner hospitals in Bhubaneswar, the partners from Cuttack – Ashwini Hospital (A Unit of Cuttack Hospital Pvt Limited), SashiBhusan Memorial Hospital Pvt Ltd, Aum Hospital,Balasore, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Kalinga Hospital Ltd welcomed the Smile Torch to Bhubaneswar, Orissa. Besides the hospital from Bhubaneswar and TRL Krosaki Hospital, Belpahar also came forward to welcome the Smile Torch.
Smile Torch is a unique, national initiative for creating renewed awareness about clefts and its treatment. The torch was launched February 8, 2019 on National Cleft Day in Varanasi and is travelling across India to help sensitize communities about the challenges faced by children born with clefts.
Speaking about the initiative, Leela Imam, Senior Director – Programs, Smile Train India, shared “The biggest challenges in cleft treatment are affordability and accessibility. There are many children with cleft lip & palate condition around the world who need help, but can’t receive timely care due to monetary constraints and lack of awareness and knowledge about this condition. The Smile Torch serves to remind communities that children with clefts have the right to smile and need our support. Only together, can we ensure complete integration of these children in the mainstream society.”
As part of Smile Torch initiative, Smile Train India and partner hospitals organized events to create awareness and support for children born with clefts. These include skits, magic shows and songs by cleft patients and program at Tribal School. ShriNaba Kishore Das,Minister for Health and Family Welfare, renowned cine start and Smile Train’s Goodwill Ambassador for Odisha, Member of ParliamentShriAnubhavMohanty, senior officials from Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) and National Health Mission (NHM) attended the Smile Torch event and showed their support for the children born with clefts. The children born with clefts also shared their experiences.
In addition, the Smile Train team, partner doctors, cleft children and their families visited the office of honourable Governor, Professor GaneshiLal, who lit the Smile Torch and encouraged the children and doctors. .
Speaking about clefts, Smile Train Partner Hospitals saidshared, “A cleft is one of the most common birth defects and its consequences are huge. Children with cleft lip and palate defects are ridiculed for their appearance, but more importantly have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Most do not go to school or get a job. Early intervention can help the child lead a normal life, get a good education, learn a trade, and become a productive member of society. Cleft surgery is safe and the transformation is immediate.”
Smile Train India has supported more than 20,000 free cleft surgeries in Orissa through it’s network of six partner hospitals across Bubaneswar, Cuttack, Balasore and Belpahar and 4000+ free cleft surgeriesin Bhubaneswar through its partner – All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Kalinga Hospital Ltd. In just 19 years, Smile Train India has supported more than 5.5 lakh+ free cleft surgeries in India.