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A Year Full of Smiles: Smile Train Celebrates First Anniversary of Comprehensive Cleft Care Center in Cebu

The organization remains committed to providing free comprehensive cleft care for patients in Cebu and other regions in Visayas

A year since it established the first Comprehensive Cleft Care (CCC) center in Cebu, Smile Train continues to work towards improving access to cleft treatment for those in need in the province and across the Visayas.

Through its partnership with Allegiant Regional Care (ARC) Hospitals and Mabuhay Deseret Foundation, the first CCC in Cebu has treated over 120 patients, with more than a hundred patients receiving life-changing cleft surgery.

Speech therapy sessions were also provided, ensuring that patients access speech therapy which is vital for their continued care. Patients coming from as far as Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and Negros Oriental benefit from the center’s numerous services, which also include nutrition counseling and orthodontic treatment.

“Our partnership with Smile Train has allowed us to offer many Filipino patients hope and a chance to experience life-changing treatment for free. With the first comprehensive cleft care center in the region, we are able to cater to more patients and help them learn more about Smile Train’s programs of holistic care for those with cleft,” said Melody Ledesma, Country Director, Mabuhay Deseret Foundation.

According to Dr. Alex Alegrado, Medical Director of Allegiant Regional Care (ARC) Hospitals Inc, many patients have also approached the hospital inquiring about the process for receiving treatment. “Contrary to the notion that services are paused due to the pandemic, we are happy to share the cleft team at ARC continues to provide life-changing treatment for those in need. We are happy that many of our beneficiaries continue to and are eager to go through the process of treatment. By partnering with Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, we are able to help Filipinos experience the global standard of comprehensive cleft care,” he said.

“We have reached another milestone in our goal of providing care for every cleft-affected individual, and a year full of smiles is just the beginning. We are confident that we will be able to reach more Filipinos affected with cleft and help provide them with access to the necessary comprehensive cleft care support they need,” said Jun Grimares, Program Director, Smile Train Philippines.

Smile Train promotes comprehensive cleft care, recognizing that an untreated cleft can cause various health complications such as malnutrition, difficulty breathing and speaking, hearing loss, mental health challenges, and even premature death. Leveraging on its telehealth network, Smile Train brings the services of a multidisciplinary team of specialists to promote programs that include nutritional support, orthodontic care, psychosocial support, and speech therapy, with pilot programs in dental care and ENT services.

Through its programs, Smile Train’s goal is to connect all patients to the care they need. Relying on its network of more than 50 partners, Smile Train has managed to reach more patients across the country, bringing the multiple benefits of free comprehensive cleft care to patients who need it most.

Smile Train has launched several comprehensive cleft centers with its partners, such as the Philippine Band of Mercy and Marikina St. Vincent General Hospital in Metro Manila. Through the help of its partners, Smile Train has been able to support more than 68,000 cleft surgeries in the Philippines to date.

To know more about Smile Train’s global efforts and to donate, please visit smiletrain.org. To learn more about Smile Train’s local programs in the Philippines and to refer a patient in need, please visit smiletrain.ph/get-help. Follow Smile Train Philippines on Instagram @SmileTrainPh, and like us on Facebook at @SmileTrainPhilippines.

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