July holds a special meaning for the AfS community. For those who are not yet aware, July was National Cleft and Craniofacial...
Alliance for Smiles At A Glance
To forever improve and transform the lives of children and communities impacted by cleft lip and palate by providing free comprehensive treatment, while training and equipping local teams to sustainably provide quality, long-term care.
Worldwide, approximately one in 700 children are born with a cleft lip and/or palate. It is little known that in many countries children with clefts face tremendous physical, emotional, and social challenges. Many are even killed by their own families or communities for being born with the condition, as it is often considered a curse or spiritual punishment. Those who survive have difficulty breastfeeding, are prone to serious medical conditions and are often shunned, abused, or abandoned.
Alliance for Smiles was founded with two goals: to address the immediate need by providing free cleft surgeries for families who could never afford it on their own; and to train, equip, and empower local medical providers to address the long-term needs of cleft patients.
Types Of Services
An average of 90 cleft children receives surgery during our two-week missions, which are comprised of approximately 15 surgical team members and 5 non-medical volunteers. During these missions, the AfS team works in tandem with local medical practitioners to exchange ideas on proper medical techniques and procedures, as well as to provide follow-up care. Read More
Depending on the needs and capacity of the community and local medical team, we provide basic and advanced care training to local nurses, doctors, and medical students so they can continue to provide effective treatment to cleft patients after our mission has departed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, when international travel was suspended, we launched a program to deliver this training remotely under our newly developed Virtual Education Initiative. This program has been so successful and helpful to our partners that it will become a permanent part of our offerings even after we can resume standard missions. Read More
Our permanent Treatment Centers are established for patients to receive follow-up and on-going care utilizing the same treatment protocols provided in countries with advanced healthcare systems: treatment such as secondary surgeries, dental care and orthodontia, speech therapy, and psychosocial support. These centers are staffed by local medical teams who have access to ongoing remote support from AfS practitioners and receive two in-person training visits per year until they no longer require external support. Read More