Puducherry

‘Smile Torch’ spreads awareness

JIPMER Director Dr. Rakesh Aggarwal, Vartika Singh (extreme right) Smile Train supporter and Miss India along with children with Cleft lip participating in the Smile Torch walk on the Beach Road in Puducherry on Sunday. T. Singaravelou

JIPMER Director Dr. Rakesh Aggarwal, Vartika Singh (extreme right) Smile Train supporter and Miss India along with children with Cleft lip participating in the Smile Torch walk on the Beach Road in Puducherry on Sunday. T. Singaravelou   | Photo Credit: T.Singaravelou

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Cleft treatment initiative aims to help dispel myths associated with the disorder

The Smile Train, an international NGO providing cleft surgeries for the last 20 years, arrived in Puducherry on Sunday with the ‘Smile Torch’ to spread awareness on cleft surgeries and dispel myths associated with cleft disorders. The ‘Smile Torch’ reached Puducherry after covering 23 cities across India.

Dr. Rakesh Aggarwal, Director of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer), received the torch from Leela Imam, director - programmes, Smile Train India, in the presence of Dr. Ashok Kumar Badhe, Medical Superintendent, Dr. Devi Prasad Mohapatra, project director, Smile Train Cleft Project, and Vartika Singh, Smile Train supporter and Miss India, at the Gandhi Thidal.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Aggarwal highlighted the facilities, starting from immunisation, surgery, post-operative care, counselling and speech therapy available for patients with cleft lip.

Ms. Leela Imam said the biggest challenges in cleft treatment were affordability and accessibility. There are many children with untreated clefts in India who need help, but can’t receive timely care due to poverty and lack of awareness about treatment.

“We are committed in our efforts to support completely free cleft care, through our 150+ partner hospitals across India. The ‘Smile Torch’ serves to remind communities that children with clefts have the right to smile and need our support. Only together, can we ensure complete integration of these children in mainstream society,” she said.

Cleft can be detected at foetal stage and early detection and treatment can lead to improved quality of life for children.

Nationwide awareness can only be ensured by collective efforts from all stakeholders including supporters, doctors, medical community, parents and cleft patients, Ms. Imam said.

Earlier, about 150 children participated in the cleft walk held on the Beach Road.

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Printable version | Dec 11, 2019 5:31:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/smile-torch-spreads-awareness/article29873080.ece

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