Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery
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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 192--198

Smile Train: The ascendancy of cleft care in India


G S Memorial Plastic Surgery Hospital, Varanasi, India

Correspondence Address:
Subodh Kumar Singh
G S Memorial Plastic Surgery Hospital, B-38/63-4, Brijwas Colony, Mahmoorganj, Varanasi - 221 010
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-0358.57186

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Though India has an estimated population of one million untreated cleft patients, facilities for its treatment have been limited and are not evenly distributed across the country. Furthermore, a paucity of committed cleft surgeons in fewer hospitals to provide quality surgical treatment to these patients, poverty, illiteracy, superstitions and poor connectivity in some remote regions severely limit the chances of an average cleft lip patient born in India from receiving rational and effective comprehensive treatment for his/her malady. The Smile Train Project with its singular focus on cleft patients started its philanthropic activities in India in the year 2000. It made hospitals and included clefts surgeon equal partners in this programme and helped them treat as many cleft patients as they possibly could. The Project encouraged improvement of the training and infrastructure in various centres across the length and breadth of the region. The Project received an unprecedented success in terms of growth of number of centres, cleft surgeons and quantum of cleft patients reporting for treatment. The G S Memorial Hospital is one such partner hospital. It started innovative outreach programmes and took a holistic view of the needs of these patients and their families. With the support of the Smile Train, it has not only succeeded in providing treatment to more than 14,500 patients in 5 years, but has also devised innovative outreach programmes and seamlessly incorporated salient changes in the hospital system to suit the needs of the target population.






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