Global cleft charity Smile Train recently joined Jordan Hospital in Kitui, Kenya to celebrate the successful surgeries of 500 patients with cleft lip and palate in the community.

Speaking during the milestone celebration hosted at the Hospital, Smile Train Program Manager East Africa Joseph Kariuki underscored the need for partnerships in providing the much needed cleft treatment in the community.

“Children born with cleft continue to be hidden in the community, many of them having difficulty in breathing, eating and speaking. Every one of the over 500 patients we have treated together is a valued member of the society. As Smile Train, we commit to working closely with our partner hospitals in providing free, safe and timely comprehensive cleft care closer to the patient,” said Joseph.

Smile Train and Jordan Hospital have been partners since 2008. Jordan Hospital Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Joshua Matu acknowledged the partnership, noting that it has made a significant difference in providing quality cleft care in Kitui.

He said: “Many people associate cleft with witchcraft. With extensive public awareness and partnership with Smile Train we have been able to dispel these myths and provide cleft surgery absolutely free to the patient. The many patients who have turned up will receive treatment, while those who need speech therapy will be taken care of at no cost. Our longstanding partnership with Smile Train has recently refurbished a pediatric ward with Smile Train, thus prioritizing their care.”

Smile Train has active cleft care programs in 40 countries across Africa with more than 245 partners and over 255 partner hospitals across the continent. Through strategic partnerships at the local and international level, Smile Train dedicates itself towards providing funding towards quality healthcare capacity building and advocacy to increase access to safer surgeries and cleft care in low and middle-income countries.