Smile Train India, India’s largest cleft focused NGO and The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), India’s largest association of gynaecologists and obstetricians, launched a medical protocol for identification and treatment of cleft lip and palate to drive early diagnosis and intervention for children with clefts in India.
Cleft Lip and Palate is a treatable birth difference that can be diagnosed by an ultrasound scan as early as 20 weeks of pregnancy and treatment counseling can start right there. With proper guidance and timely treatment, children with clefts can live healthy lives and can attain their full potential. Lack of information about the timelines of cleft care and superstitions can lead to uninformed decisions by parents of cleft affected children.
This pioneering collaboration between FOGSI and Smile Train is expected to bridge gaps in the diagnosis and management of Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate. A team of medical experts from FOGSI and Smile Train India viz, Fetal Medicine Experts, Neonatologists, Obstetricians, Gynaecologists, Plastic and Maxillofacial Surgeons, Pediatric Anesthesiologists, Paediatricians, Speech Language Pathologists and Orthodontists have worked together to create this standard medical protocol which will be accessible by the entire Obstetric and Gynaecological community.
Speaking at the announcement, Dr. Shanta Kumari President, FOGSI said, “This collaboration will mark the launch of a very critical program. Being the first point of contact for mothers, gynaecologists play a pivotal role in identifying foetal anomalies and educating families with the right information, hence their training and awareness must be a priority at all times. Developing a protocol for early diagnosis and intervention for cleft lip and palate will help drive better surgical outcomes and improve the quality of life of cleft affected children. Smile Train is doing commendable work strengthening the cleft ecosystem in India and we are proud to be a part of this noble initiative.”
At the event, Mamta Carroll, Senior Vice President & Regional Director, Asia, Smile Train said, “Our collaboration with FOGSI to increase awareness about cleft lip and palate in India, right from the foetal stage, is a significant step towards comprehensive care for children with clefts in India. The protocol will be a useful resource for obstetricians and gynaecologists to guide cleft patients, address their queries and ensure interventions at an early stage. With this partnership, we aim to accelerate our work by driving early diagnosis and treatment. We hope to continue educating parents to ensure the best quality of life for all cleft warriors.”
Speaking further on the cause, Dr. Nandita Palshetkar, past President FOGSI, under whose presidency the partnership with Smile Train and the creation of the cleft protocol was initiated, said, “It gives me great joy to be a part of the launch of this protocol and see the all the efforts put in by FOGSI members and Smile Train partner doctors come to fruition. We need to gear up and fast track the protocol dissemination process in order to serve cleft affected communities with the right and adequate information at an early stage.”
As part of the process, FOGSI and Smile Train plan to disseminate this protocol to the entire Obstetric and Gynaecological community and also create a referral program for FOGSI members to direct underprivileged cleft patients to access free of cost treatment at Smile Train partner hospitals.