Every Three Minutes...
a child is born with a cleft lip and/or cleft palate. Annually, that is an estimated 175,200 children world-wide.
Infants born with cleft conditions have nine times the risk of dying within the first year of life.
But you can offer them hope.
With surgery, a child can have a brand-new, beautiful smile in as little as 45 minutes.
Operation Smile exists to make sure everyone gets the safe corrective surgery they need wherever they live in the world. It is surgery that changes a child’s life forever…and it changes families, communities, countries and yes, the world.
At Operation Smile we believe every child suffering from cleft lip or cleft palate deserves exceptional surgical care. We envision a future where health and dignity are improved through safe surgery.
Through our expertise in treating cleft lip and cleft palate, we create solutions that deliver safe surgery to people where it’s needed most.
Why Cleft Conditions are Serious
When left untreated, having a cleft lip and/or cleft palate becomes life-threatening and a lifelong hardship. Child abandonment and even infanticide can occur when a family is unwilling or unable to raise a child with cleft. Their child’s condition is sometimes viewed as an extra hardship in a life already filled with daily challenges like poverty and food insecurity.
Having a cleft condition can cause serious health issues if not corrected: difficulty speaking, language development, dental problems, ear infections and hearing loss, and difficulty eating and swallowing can lead to malnutrition and even starvation.
Social isolation of children and their families is common in many countries and cultures. This can lead to economic hardship and poverty, compounding the physical and emotional effects of a cleft condition.