Smile Train, the world’s largest charity focused on comprehensive cleft care, continued to provide surgical services and ongoing cleft care to patients across the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the pandemic disrupted health services, Smile Train partnered with local hospitals and other stakeholders, leveraged telehealth possibilities, and adapted service delivery approaches to continue safe cleft treatment and care. See three examples below.
OVERCOMING THE DISTANCE: CONTINUING CARE AMIDST COVID-19
In Brazil, COVID-19 brought cleft surgery – and essential in-person cleft care – to a halt. Two speech therapists from Smile Train partner treatment facilities, Associação Beija-Flor and Policlínica Piquet Carneiro (CTAC), at the Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (State University of Rio de Janeiro), took action to ensure their patients wouldn’t fall behind their peers during lockdown. With Smile Train’s support, their medical teams scaled virtual telehealth programs, inspiring their region and bringing care to the children who needed it most.
HOPE IS ONLY A PHONE CALL AWAY IN INDIA
In April, as India braved a country-wide lockdown to control the transmission of COVID-19, parents of children with clefts found hope and comfort in Smile Train India’s toll-free cleft helpline. Funded by GSK Consumer Healthcare India, Smile Train’s global corporate sponsor, the helpline launched in January 2019 to support families in India who were affected by cleft. During COVID-19, it has become an even more essential lifeline for patients.
NURSE LISETTE JEREZ: HOW SMILE TRAIN PARTNERS ARE TREATING KIDS WITH CLEFTS THROUGH THE PANDEMIC
“Over time, we have learned that it is not only the disease that must be treated, but also the individual, the child, the mother who cries in distress for her son, her family for the scarce resources, the chaotic reality we live in, the father who is out of work because of the quarantine and suffers without being able to support his family to eat. These are difficult times and my mission is to support how I can.” Nurse Lisette Jerez cares for patients with clefts at Smile Train partner GANFIT (Grupo de Ayuda a los Niños con Fisura Labio Palatina) at Hospital Hernán Henríquez Aravena in Chile. This is her account of the COVID-19 pandemic and the work she has done to give patients and families someone to turn to in their most uncertain times.
|In the lead-up to UHC Day 2020 (“Health for All: Protect Everyone”), we are highlighting how CSEM member organizations are contributing to ensure the COVID-19 response protects everyone and keeping momentum going for universal health coverage amid the crisis. See more.
Join us for the virtual UHC Day rally on 12 December 2020 — share your commitment to UHC and call on decision-makers to protect everyone!