Smile Train India, the country’s largest cleft care NGO, has announced the launch of its nationwide ‘Zor Se Bolo’ campaign in honor of National Cleft Day. The campaign intends to raise awareness for individuals with a cleft lip and/or palate and to let communities know that clefts are treatable through safe and accessible surgical care. The campaign aims to collaborate with all relevant stakeholders, from celebrity supporters, medical partners, donors and cleft patients, in communicating several pertinent facts regarding comprehensive cleft care for children.
Endorsing the campaign with an appeal on social media, Miss Universe Hamaaz Sandhu, said “Every child deserves the opportunity to live a life free from prejudice and discrimination. Around the world, Smile Train advocates the need for comprehensive cleft care. This campaign will go a long way in improving understanding of this treatable condition in India and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
Every Year more than 35,000 children are born with a cleft lip and/or palate in India. While the ideal age for lip surgery is 3-6 months and palate surgery is 9-18 months after birth, associated stigma and lack of awareness about this treatable birth difference forces children to live with an untreated cleft.
Dr. Nayan P. Jani, Additional Director-Family Welfare, Health & Family Welfare Department, Government of Gujarat, said,”Smile Train’s vision of a healthy and productive life for cleft affected children falls within “Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram” (RBSK) vision of improving the overall quality life of children, enabling all children to achieve their full potential; and providing comprehensive care to all the children in the community.
In the last 7 years, the Government of Gujarat and Smile Train India have collectively reached out to and treated thousands of children with clefts. Early identification is a key aspect of treatment and RBSK Gujarat is proud to join Smile Train’s awareness campaign on National Cleft Day.“
Smile Train’s Senior Vice President & Regional Director for Asia, Mamta Carroll said,”We know the power of public opinion in creating societal change, especially in a large and populous country like India. For too long now, cleft has been seen as a curse or a bad omen when it is a treatable birth difference.