Smile Train to expand local cleft care partnerships throughout the Middle East

Program expansion includes Yemen and Iraqcountries where previous programs were interrupted due to conflict.

NEW YORK , March 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Smile Train, the world’s largest slots-focused organization, has announced new partnership launches and expansions in the Middle East region, with new cleft care programs set to open in the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Saudi Arabiaand Oman In the coming months. In partnership with local healthcare professionals, Smile Train recently relaunched cleft care programs in Yemenwhich will soon be followed by the resumption of services in Iraq, restoring programs once interrupted by widespread conflict and crisis in these countries. The programs will also be extended to all of conflict-affected Palestine.

The need for cleft care in this region is particularly great. Thousands of babies are born with clefts Middle East each year, including more than 1,000 in Yemen and Turkey and more than 1,600 in Iraq. Globally, every three minutes, a baby is born with a cleft lip and/or palate. Children with untreated clefts may experience physical difficulty eating, breathing, hearing, and speaking. Without treatment, clefts can lead to lifelong disability or even death, but prompt treatment alleviates many of these difficulties, ultimately allowing children to thrive.

“At the heart of our work is our relentless quest to ensure that every person with cleft has access to the care they deserve – and locally-led partnerships allow us to do just that. It is imperative that we continue to expand our offerings in the Middle East region, as we know that providers in many countries in the region are eager for support and training,” said Susannah Schaefer, President and CEO, Smile Train. “Many families have been waiting years for help to combat the far-reaching effects of cleft with life-changing surgery. With partnerships resuming and reviving across the region, Smile Train and our partners will be able to to get these patients and families the care they need.”

“Children with clefts are born every day around the world, including in conflict zones. Treating clefts is life-changing and life-saving, and every moment of delay is heartbreaking. Conflict has interrupted our historic partnerships in several countries of the world, in Yemenin Iraqand more recently Ukrainewhere our partners have pivoted to provide crisis care,” added Erin Stieber, program director, Smile Train. “But our return to Yemen and Iraq, and our expansion into new countries, will advance our global work to establish sustainable, locally-led models that build more resilient health systems. When it is safe to do so, by working with local teams, we are able to resume our work quickly and return to serving those in need. Smile Train won’t stop until every person with cleft, regardless of country of origin, has access to the care they need and deserve.”

About Smile Train
Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with the training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children around the world. We offer a lasting solution and a scalable global health model for treating cleft, dramatically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about Smile Train’s sustainable approach, please visit

Media Contact
Nijha Digg
smile train
[email protected]

SOURCE Smile Train

Christine E. Phillips