A Year Full of Smiles: Smile Train Celebrates First Anniversary of Comprehensive Cleft Care Center in Cebu

A year since it established the first Comprehensive Cleft Care (CCC) center in Cebu, Smile Train continues to work towards improving access to cleft treatment for those in need in the province and across the Visayas.

Through its partnership with Allegiant Regional Care (ARC) Hospitals and Mabuhay Deseret Foundation, the first CCC in Cebu has treated over 120 patients, with more than a hundred patients receiving life-changing cleft surgery.

Smile Train - Cebu CCC
L-R: Dr. Tyronne Lariego, Pediatric Intensive Care, ARC Hospital; Dr. Pearl Joy Sendaydiego, Pediatric Neurologist and Director of Medical Administrative Affairs, ARC Hospital; Jun Grimares, Program Director, Smile Train PH; Dr. Larissa Ang-Lim, Pediatric Dentist; Dr. Alex Alegrado, Medical Director, ARC Hospital

Speech therapy sessions were also provided, ensuring that patients access speech therapy which is vital for their continued care. Patients coming from as far as Bohol, Leyte, Samar, and Negros Oriental benefit from the center’s numerous services, which also include nutrition counseling and orthodontic treatment.

Our partnership with Smile Train has allowed us to offer many Filipino patients hope and a chance to experience life-changing treatment for free. With the first comprehensive cleft care center in the region, we are able to cater to more patients and help them learn more about Smile Train’s programs of holistic care for those with cleft,” said Melody Ledesma, Country Director, Mabuhay Deseret Foundation.

According to Dr. Alex Alegrado, Medical Director of Allegiant Regional Care (ARC) Hospitals Inc, many patients have also approached the hospital inquiring about the process for receiving treatment. “Contrary to the notion that services are paused due to the pandemic, we are happy to share the cleft team at ARC continues to provide life-changing treatment for those in need.  We are happy that many of our beneficiaries continue to and are eager to go through the process of treatment. By partnering with Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, we are able to help Filipinos experience the global standard of comprehensive cleft care,” he said.
Smile Train - additional photo
We have reached another milestone in our goal of providing care for every cleft-affected individual, and a year full of smiles is just the beginning. We are confident that we will be able to reach more Filipinos affected with cleft and help provide them with access to the necessary comprehensive cleft care support they need,” said Jun Grimares, Program Director, Smile Train Philippines.

Smile Train promotes comprehensive cleft care, recognizing that an untreated cleft can cause various health complications such as malnutrition, difficulty breathing and speaking, hearing loss, mental health challenges, and even premature death. Leveraging on its telehealth network, Smile Train brings the services of a multidisciplinary team of specialists to promote programs that include nutritional support, orthodontic care, psychosocial support, and speech therapy, with pilot programs in dental care and ENT services.

Through its programs, Smile Train’s goal is to connect all patients to the care they need. Relying on its network of more than 50 partners, Smile Train has managed to reach more patients across the country, bringing the multiple benefits of free comprehensive cleft care to patients who need it most.

Smile Train has launched several comprehensive cleft centers with its partners, such as the Philippine Band of Mercy and Marikina St. Vincent General Hospital in Metro Manila. Through the help of its partners, Smile Train has been able to support more than 68,000 cleft surgeries in the Philippines to date.

To know more about Smile Train’s global efforts and to donate, please visit smiletrain.org. To learn more about Smile Train’s local programs in the Philippines and to refer a patient in need, please visit smiletrain.ph/get-help. Follow Smile Train Philippines on Instagram @SmileTrainPh, and like us on Facebook at @SmileTrainPhilippines.

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About Smile Train Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train's sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.ph. For more information about Smile Train’s work in the Philippines, please contact philippines@smiletrain.org.

About Mabuhay Deseret Foundation Founded in 1988, the Mabuhay Deseret Foundation (a Charity Vision Int'l affiliate) has provided thousands free and subsidized operations every year to correct medical conditions such as cataracts, crossed eyes, cleft lip and palate, burn contractions, post polio and clubfeet for the poor. To learn more about Mabuhay Deseret Foundation’s work, please visit mabuhaydeseretfoundation.org. 

About Allegiant Regional Care (ARC) Hospitals Allegiant Regional Care (ARC) Hospitals is a private healthcare facility that was established on August 17, 2015 to cater to the residents of Metro Cebu with a focus on the cities of Lapu-Lapu and Cordova. ARC Hospitals aspires to improve the healthcare landscape in the Philippines. To learn more about ARC, please visit http://www.archospitals.org/

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