Hospital Updates

Smile Train Achieves 700,000 Free Cleft Surgeries in India, Helping to Change Lives One Smile at a Time

Smile Train, the world’s largest NGO focused on cleft care, has reached an incredible milestone in India – providing over 700,000 life-changing and free cleft surgeries through their vast 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 expressed her gratitude to the dedicated doctors, medical staff, and generous donors who have made this remarkable achievement possible.

Beyond safe, high-quality surgical care, Smile Train is dedicated to providing non-surgical cleft treatments like nutrition and feeding support, orthodontic services, speech therapy, and psychosocial counseling to ensure the best possible outcome for every patient. This approach has led to significant 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 often face social isolation and can experience difficulties in eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking. Unlike mission-trip-based organizations, 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, “Our extensive network of partner hospitals, medical experts, goodwill ambassadors, and generous donors has been instrumental in helping us reach this significant milestone. While we celebrate this achievement, we remain committed to our values and continue to strive for comprehensive cleft care for every child in need.”

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 instrumental 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.

Smile Train is dedicated to raising awareness and further education to reduce stigma and ensure acceptance for people with clefts in India and around the world. This milestone is a testament to Smile Train’s commitment to providing safe, free, and high-quality cleft care to every child in need, and the organization will continue to change lives one smile at a time.


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