NGO Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft care organization, and its partner hospital National Heart Institute in New Delhi have launched a Nutrition Program specially for children born with cleft lip and palate.
Children with cleft lip and palate are at an increased risk of being malnourished especially in the early months of life as they have a gap in their lip and/or palate, face difficulties in feeding and milk/food can spill out from their nose.
Proper nutrition and guidance can ensure that children born with cleft lip and palate have a better chance at surviving infancy, being adequately nourished, and being healthy enough to receive safe surgical treatment.
The newly launched nutrition program at National Heart Institute will counsel mothers on how to feed and care for their child with cleft lip and palate, while also supporting the specialized nutritional needs of cleft affected children. Smile Train’s Nutrition Program includes 3 levels of support for feeding and nutrition:
Feeding counseling for mothers and families including the protective benefits of breastfeeding
Nutrition assessment for patients with clefts
Nutrition support before and after surgery
Speaking on the occasion, Sheila Koyyana, Program Director, Smile Train India said, “Smile Train believes that every baby born with a cleft must have the opportunity to thrive and grow, without being held back by any feeding challenges related to their cleft. We are sure that the Smile Train Nutrition Program will help children become healthy and avail the free surgery supported by Smile Train at National Heart Institute.”
“Our cleft team at National Heart Institute is fully equipped to support children with clefts from birth to completion of treatment. We urge mothers of babies born with cleft lip and palate to come to our hospital and avail the free service so the children may get nutritional care at the right time and avoid being malnourished,” said Dr. Karoon Agrawal, Project Director, National Heart Institute.
The NGO is conducting a month-long Cleft Nutrition Awareness and Outreach Campaign across the country to celebrate September as Poshan Maah to bring focus on and educate both parents and medical communities about the special feeding and nutritional needs of babies born with clefts.
For more information on how to feed and care for children with clefts, and avail free cleft surgery, please call NGO Smile Train’s National Cleft Helpline – 1800 103 8301.
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 India’s sustainable approach, please visit smiletrainindia.org.