Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute and Smile Train India celebrate the completion of 12,000 free, transformational cleft surgeries at SRMC, Chennai
Reputed Actor M. Nassar declared as Smile Train India Goodwill Ambassador for Tamil Nadu
Chennai, February 2018, Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity and its partner hospital in Chennai, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute (Deemed to be University), celebrated the successful completion of 12,000 free cleft lip and palate reconstructive surgeries for underprivileged children, at the hospital on February 24, 2018. On this celebratory occasion, M. Nassar, reputed film actor, director and producer, and the UNICEF Ambassador for sanitation for Southern India, was announced as the Smile Train Goodwill Ambassador for Tamil Nadu.
Smile Train India has been actively involved in conducting free cleft lip and palate surgeries for underprivileged children who are forced to live with this congenital defect due to poverty and ignorance. Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute and Smile Train India have been partners since 2001, with an aim to provide cleft reconstructive surgeries to children born with clefts and ensure children grow up to be confident individuals and not face social stigma due to a defect which can otherwise be successfully treated.
Congratulating Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute at the event, Mamta Carroll, (Vice President and Regional Director, Smile Train, South Asia) said “The cleft center at Sri Ramachandra Medical College, Chennai has been a model Smile Train center, that we proudly showcase as an outstanding example of holistic cleft care. It also gives me great pleasure to honor Smile Train Surgeon, Dr. Jyotsna Murthy for her relentless contribution to the cause of clefts globally. I thank Mr. Nassar for coming forward to support children born with clefts by joining this movement as Smile Train Goodwill Ambassador for Tamil Nadu. We look forward to working closely with him to ensure that every child born with a cleft gets safe and timely, free treatment!”
Dr. J. Radhakrishnan (IAS, Health Secretary, Health & Family Welfare Department, Government of Tamil Nadu) delivered the presidential address. Over 1000 cleft patients and their families were present at the celebrations and shared their awe-inspiring, transformative journeys with the audience. RBSK Health workers were felicitated for their contribution in spreading awareness and reaching out to patients in remote areas around Chennai. Representatives from the Rotary Club announced support in providing job opportunities to adults with treated cleft lip and palate. Rotary Club also organized a job fair for adults who were born with cleft lip and palate.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Jyotsna Murthy (Prof. of Dept. of Plastic Surgery and Project Director, Smile Train India program, SRMC) said “Helping children born with clefts is our passion and motto at Sri Ramachandra Medical College & Research Institute. This has been possible only because of the unstinted support from our VC, as this project is very close to his heart.Through the 17 years of association with Smile Train India, SRMC team has spread awareness regarding the importance of timely corrective surgeries, speech therapy for cleft patients and have enabled complete interdisciplinary care from birth till adulthood. We also ensure that children with treated clefts get enough support to integrate in the society. We hope to continue reaching new milestones and helping children born with clefts lead fulfilling lives.”
Commenting on the success, M. Nassar said “It is heartening to see the success of such initiatives in the country. I appreciate Smile Train India for focusing on an issue such as clefts, which many of us don’t know about. I congratulate SRMC for this commendable achievement and look forward to creating awareness about clefts, together. It is the new smiles on the faces of all these children and their families which will continue to motivate us.”