Finally, children born with clefts in Himachal Pradesh have a fair reason to smile. Smile Train India, a non-government organization and National Health Mission, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Himachal Pradesh, signed a MOU to enable free surgeries for the children with congenital cleft lip and palate.Through this three year partnership, children with untreated clefts will be identified by Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK) by field health workers and referred by the district nodal officer to the nearest Smile Train India partner hospital, for free cleft and palate surgeries. Smile Train will support free cleft lip and palate surgeries and post-operative care for the children.Since 2000, Smile Train has supported more than 1700 cleft repair surgeries, absolutely free of cost, in Himachal Pradesh. The partnership looks at intensifying outreach so that more children born with clefts can benefit from the free surgeries and get a chance to lead a normal life.The free treatment will be available at the following Smile Train partner hospitals Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital Shimla, Fortis Hospital Kangra, Mandav Hospital Mandi, Panchsheel Nursing Home Private Limited, Nagrota for free cleft surgeries.
The MOU was signed by Manmohan Sharma, Mission Director, National Health Mission, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Himachal Pradesh and Renu Mehta, Area Director, Strategic Projects, South Asia, Smile Train.While Signing the MOU Mission Director, National Health Mission, Directorate of Health and Family Welfare Manmohan Sharma said that RBSK, Government of Himachal Pradesh and Smile Train India have partnered in Himachal Pradesh to ensure quality healthcare for children of the state born with clefts. This partnership will help children with untreated cleft access free treatment in a timely manner through Smile Train India's partner hospitals and together we are committed to bring smiles to those families.Talking about the partnership, Renu Mehta, Area Director, Strategic Projects, South Asia, Smile Train said, “We are thankful to the Government of Himachal Pradesh for their support in spreading awareness about clefts and the treatment available. A timely surgery gives a child a second chance at life. With the support of RBSK, we are sure that we will be able to reach out to children born with clefts from remote areas, who do not have access to quality cleft treatment or surgery. We have provided more than 1700 surgeries in Himachal Pradesh so far and this partnership will help us expand our reach and enable more free surgeries.”