Smile Train India, the country's largest cleft care , has announced the launch of its nationwide 'Zor Se Bolo' campaign in honour of National Cleft Day.
February 8 is observed as National Cleft Day by the Indian Society of Cleft Lip, Palate and Craniofacial Anomalies and cleft charities in India.
The campaign intends to raise awareness for individuals with a cleft lip and/or palate and let communities know that clefts are treatable through safe and accessible surgical care.
Endorsing the campaign with an appeal on social media, 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."
The campaign will continue for the next three months, featuring messaging from other prominent Smile Train India supporters such as and sports icon Harbhajan Singh, Smile Train India medical partners, and other relevant industry stakeholders in the form of webinars, videos, and social media activities.
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Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. They provide a sustainable solution and scalable global for cleft treatment, drastically improving children's lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive.
For more than 20 years, Smile Train has supported safe and quality cleft care for more than 1.5 million children globally, including more than 500K children in India.
Every year more than 35,000 children are born with a cleft lip and 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.
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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. While Smile Train has made a tremendous impact in the last 21 years, supporting more than 6.5 Lakh surgeries in India, awareness about cleft treatment is still one of the biggest challenges we face. This campaign is an opportunity to debunk these myths and get everyone to 'say it loudly - cleft is curable'."