31 JANUARY 2023, MANILA, PHILIPPINES — As the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, Smile Train celebrates over 24 years of 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care for Filipinos born with cleft lip and palate.
After the success of launching the world’s first Filipino language Speech Therapy App last 2021, Smile Train has since focused on expanding and growing its Comprehensive Cleft Care (CCC) centers outside of Metro Manila to cater to more Filipinos in need of cleft support.
“Over the years, Smile Train has worked toward providing comprehensive cleft care for Filipinos at zero cost – from surgery to post-surgery care, and other cleft treatment such as speech therapy, orthodontics, and even breast-feeding support for mothers of children with cleft. To continue providing high-quality treatment for the years to come, we have worked toward training more Filipino medical professionals and partnering with more healthcare institutions such as Marikina St. Vincent General Hospital and Allegiant Regional Care Hospitals to launch more CCC centers across the country”, said Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Smile Train Vice President, South East Asia.
Bringing more smiles to Filipinos across the country
In 2022, Smile Train celebrated the first anniversary of its first CCC center in Cebu in partnership with Allegiant Regional Care Hospitals and Mabuhay Deseret Foundation. Since its launch, over a hundred patients have received life-changing cleft surgery and post-surgery care in the Eastern Visayas region.
Smile Train also celebrated its 12-year partnership with Marikina St. Vincent General Hospital with the launch of its CCC Center. The hospital has helped over 5,000 patients with cleft surgery, and other cleft treatment such as orthodontic and dental treatment and speech therapy at no cost. The CCC Center provides free treatment and care all-year for individuals living in Marikina, Rizal, and nearby provinces.
Local partners at the forefront of success
The success of Smile Train’s sustainable model is anchored on partnerships with local medical professionals and hospitals in the country. With this, Smile Train continued its support for local medical professionals through skills enhancement training opportunities.
In 2022, Smile Train, in collaboration with the Philippine Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (PAPRAS), hosted the PAPRAS – Smile Train Cleft Training Program which trains plastic aesthetic and reconstructive surgeons through a three-month-long observership. Participants are given hands-on training for various types of cleft surgeries, exposure to managing comprehensive cleft care with the help of the program.
Smile Train and Glaxo-Smith Klein (GSK) Consumer Healthcare, one of the world’s leading providers in specialist oral health, also supported a three-day Comprehensive Cleft Care Webinar series. Organized by the Association of Philippine Orthodontists (APO), the webinar series offered highly informative online sessions on various stages of cleft treatment for a child born with a cleft.
Accelerating cleft lip and palate expertise
Another highlight for Smile Train was the introduction of its first and only Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate Simulator, the latest addition to its growing series of high-fidelity cleft surgery simulators. Produced by Simulare Medical, a division of Smile Train, the simulator aims to accelerate learning in cleft lip and palate reconstructive surgical training, ultimately reducing patient risk, lessening training costs, and elevating the competence of surgeons locally and globally.
“Last year, Smile Train celebrated many milestones in the Philippines that helped advance our local expertise in treating cleft and then eventually expanding by launching more comprehensive cleft care centers in farther communities. By investing in our local healthcare professionals and hospitals, we can reach more patients and provide safe, high-quality, and timely treatment for adults and children born with cleft lip and/or palate,” said Flaviano.
According to Flaviano, Smile Train Philippines is gearing up for more Comprehensive Cleft Care centers this 2023.
For more information about Smile Train’s global efforts or to donate, please visit smiletrain.org. To learn more about Smile Train’s local programs in the Philippines, please visit smiletrain.ph, follow Smile Train Philippines on Twitter and Instagram @SmileTrainPh, and like us on Facebook at @SmileTrainPhilippines.