Smile Train Marks New Milestone, Provides 700,000 Free Cleft Surgeries in India


Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused NGO, has achieved a significant milestone in India by providing over 700,000 free cleft surgeries to children in need through their network of 150+ partner hospitals across the country. The announcement was made by Susannah Schaefer, Smile Train’s President and CEO, during her visit to Bengaluru.

This milestone is a testament to Smile Train’s commitment to providing high-quality and safe cleft care to children and families affected by clefts in India. In addition to surgical care, Smile Train also offers non-surgical treatments such as nutrition and feeding support, orthodontic services, speech therapy, and psychosocial counseling to ensure the long-term rehabilitation of every patient according to their unique needs.

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 experience difficulties in eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking, and many cleft-affected families cannot afford the comprehensive care their loved ones need. Smile Train’s model of empowering local doctors and hospitals with the funding, training, and resources to provide free, high-quality care to all in need has been a game-changer.

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.”

Through partnerships with 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), Smile Train has driven early diagnosis and intervention for children with clefts and enhanced the safety and quality of surgical care at treatment centers across the country.

Smile Train’s tireless dedication to changing lives, building awareness, and reducing stigma surrounding clefts in India and around the world has transformed the lives of over 700,000 children. The organization’s comprehensive approach to cleft care and its commitment to providing safe, free, and high-quality care to every child in need will continue to change lives and transform communities for years to come.


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