Smile Train: A sustainable approach to global cleft treatment

This article was originally published here

J Craniofac Surg. 2022 Mar-Apr 01;33(2):409-412. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000007917.


Smile Train, the world’s largest non-profit organization, uses a model of building partnerships with treatment centers and healthcare professionals in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Present in more than 90 countries over its history, the organization provides support for cleft lip and palate repair as well as comprehensive cleft care (CCC) for patients with clefts. In an effort to reduce disparities in access to quality surgical, anesthetic, and medical care, Smile Train strengthens its partners with grants for training, education, equipment, and patient support. In addition, safety and quality protocols have been put in place as guidelines for each partner center, and partnerships with other non-governmental organizations have been created to increase safety in the operating rooms. The Smile Train founder wanted to apply technology wherever possible to build sustainability within treatment centers and surgeons supporting their own community. The Smile Train model, aiming for increased sustainability, is complemented by technological advancements to contribute to the safety and quality of cleft care services provided in LMIC treatment centers. Examples include centrally maintaining online data records for each patient, virtual simulations and trainings, and mobile apps to improve care. Recently, Smile Train has focused on expanding CCC with nutrition, oral health, speech therapy, and nursing programs to improve patients’ functional and psychosocial outcomes after their surgery. Despite the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Smile Train continues to provide safe, efficient and effective CCCs alongside their partners in LMICs, investing more significant efforts in the livelihoods of children with cleft cuffs. the world.

PMID:35385906 | DO I:10.1097/SCS.0000000000007917

Christine E. Phillips