Smile Train Vice President and Africa’s Regional Director Dr Esther Nyambura Njoroge recently sent these words of gratitude to be shared with Smile Train supporters. With the help of our donors and skilled partner surgeons, we’re changing the face of Africa forever.
Greetings from Africa!
An estimated 30,000 children are born with cleft lip and/or palate annually in Sub-Saharan Africa. The stories of those who are unable to find cleft care are heartrending – most have no friends to play with, are unable to attend school, and grow up alone and isolated.
However, the prospects for children living with untreated clefts in Africa are rising. I’m proud to say that last fiscal year, we transformed the lives of more than 9,700 families by providing free cleft surgeries to their loved ones. These children can now attend school, make friends, and live normal lives. Thank you for helping us create so many new smiles.
In addition to the 77,000+ smiles we’ve created in Africa, there are several new, exciting initiatives that are raising awareness about clefts in Africa and helping create even more smiles.
Last month, we brought together health workers, nurses, doctors, and local influencers in Ethiopia and Uganda to educate them on cleft lips and palates and to form a community of Smile Train Cleft Ambassadors. This group will bring back awareness and understanding to their respective communities and will identify children in need of treatment and help them transition into their new lives after surgery.
This year, we launched our very first partnership with a hospital in Liberia, a country recently ravaged by Ebola that is now on a healing path. 20 patients received surgery in the inaugural cleft week and there are hundreds more that we are now able to treat. We plan on continuing our efforts here and reaching as many people as possible.
Through your support, we also started speech therapy treatment in Ghana and Kenya. This has been an integral step in providing comprehensive cleft care to patients in our region. We plan on creating new speech programmes in Uganda, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Nigeria this fiscal year.
There are so many exciting projects going on in Africa, and I hope to share more with you in the near future.
Dr Esther Nyambura Njoroge
VP and Regional Director, Africa
If you would like to help us provide more children around the world with new smiles and second chances at life, please make a gift today.