“17 Leading Companies Join Forces to Aid Children in Need in Through Operation Smile Thailand’s ” “Bright Smiles & Happy Hearts”” Campaign
Operation Smile Foundation (Thailand) report’s on the state of patients with cleft lips and cleft palates in Thailand, reveals that 1,000s of patients in remote regions around the country are waiting for life-changing surgery. The foundation is celebrating the joint effort of 17 leading companies that will provide assistance and create a systematic, supportive program through the “”Bright Smiles & Happy Hearts”” campaign for these patients.
Mr. Kevin J. Beauvais, Chairman of Operation Smile Foundation (Thailand) recently said: “”Operation Smile Foundation (Thailand) was founded and registered as a non-profit foundation in 2001 for the purpose of providing free medical care to indigent patients, the majority of which are underprivileged children living in remote parts of Thailand and its neighboring countries, who suffer from cleft lips and cleft palates. To date, Operation Smile Thailand has helped over 8,000 underprivileged children by improving their lives through the surgical operations and other care provided by Operation Smile Thailand’s tireless volunteers. However, our data collection and analysis revealed that there are more patients, both registered and unregistered, waiting for medical attention. This means that there are, still, a large number of patients throughout the country whom we have not yet reached. The ‘Bright Smiles & Happy Hearts’ campaign is the result of Operation Smile Thailand’s data-gathering fieldwork and analysis of how we can best serve all patients.””
Assistant Professor Dr. Apichai Angspatt, Operation Smile Thailand’s Field Operations Director, stated: “”Presently, the true cause of cleft lips and cleft palates remains unknown because such conditions appear at birth and may have developed as early the first trimester of pregnancy, when the fetus began to develop. It is believed that both hereditary and environmental components, such as nutritional deficiencies or prior drug use, may cause the condition. Statistically, approximately one in every 700 children is born with a cleft lip or a cleft palate; some children have both a cleft lip and a cleft palate. In Thailand, approximately 2,000 babies are born with a cleft lip or a cleft palate each year.
“”A cleft lip or cleft palate may also contribute to other physical conditions such as hearing problems, chronic ear infections, malnutrition, dental problems, and speech impediments. A cleft condition may also affect a child’s emotional and mental development, which can lead to additional problems in the future.
“”The volunteer medical team that provides medical services and care to Operation Smile Thailand’s patients is made up of surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, dentists, and nurses. All members of the medical volunteer team are state workers who contribute their time and professional knowledge in order to help as many patients as possible. At present, several 1,000s of Thai children are waiting for the opportunity provided through Operation Smile Thailand. The surgery and medical care provided through Operation Smile Thailand can definitively change these children’s lives for the better — they become more confident, less reclusive, and open themselves, their creativity, and their potential to a newer, wider world.””
Recently, 17 leading organizations — Total Access Communication (DTAC) Public Company Limited (PCL), Krungthai Card PCL, Nation Multimedia Group PCL, Indorama Ventures PCL, Benchachinda Holding PCL, SF Corporation PCL, RICOH (Thailand) Limited, Dusit International, AEON Thailand Foundation, Dailynews, Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Limited, Bangkok Bank PCL, Eltek Power Company Limited, Progressive Inter-Trade Company Limited, Unique Telecom Company Limited, TISCO Financial Group PCL, and Jay Mart PCL — joined forces to establish the “”Bright Smiles & Happy Hearts”” campaign, together with Operation Smile Thailand, in order to provide life-changing care to cleft lip and cleft palate patients in five key aspects, as follows.
1. Provide integrated care to cleft lip and cleft palate patients through the Cranio-facial Center of Chiang Mai University.
The aim of this program is to provide systematic and comprehensive care to patients with cleft lips or cleft palates, from pre-birth until adulthood. The Center will build a network of medical professionals of pertinent specialties, educate patients and build a medical care information database through which we will address the patient’s barriers to cleft care. This aspect of the “”Bright Smiles & Happy Hearts”” campaign will be implemented in eight northern provinces during its first three years, then expanded to nationwide coverage within five years.
2. Create 1,200 smiles in the five regions of Thailand.
This aspect of the project encompasses an often-overlooked aspect of truly successful surgical transformations for children with cleft lips and cleft palates — post-surgery follow up care, such as speech therapy and dental services that allow a child to fully eat and speak properly, often for the first time.
3. Develop applications and programs that provide updated and correct information.
Through this aspect of the program, the caretakers of children with cleft lips and palates can access information and learn how to provide appropriate, primary and first aid care through the following types of software.
– An application that educates parents about how to care for their children during both pre-birth and after birth periods, including information about proper nutrition and how to feed a child with a cleft lip or a cleft palate.
– A speech therapy application that allows professionals to access information, train parents, and assist patients during speech therapy.
4. Sponsorship of medical equipment and tools.
This straight-forward, yet crucial, aspect of the program ensures that modern medical equipment and tools that are in good working condition are available to patients and medical volunteers, thereby ensuring that all medical care provided is as efficient and effective as possible.
5. Provide medical training and education to ensure updated, sustainable medical care.
This aspect of the program ensures that medical volunteers and Operation Smile Thailand employees receive the latest training for the fieldwork of organizing and providing medical operations in often remote and underdeveloped locales. The training provided will include basic first aid, such as that provided by the American Heart Association in Thailand, and scholarships that enable volunteer doctors to attend international seminars and receive necessary continuing medical specialty training.
Mr. Kevin Beauvais added, in closing: “”We are extremely confident that the ‘Bright Smiles & Happy Hearts’ Campaign will, through the integration of each organization’s capabilities, be able to create new smiles and provide assistance to children in need in a more comprehensive way throughout the country.”””