The cleft-focused NGO is partnering with The Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), India’s largest association of gynaecologists and obstetricians, to put into action a medical protocol for identification and treatment of cleft lip and palate to drive early diagnosis and intervention for children with clefts in India. 

Cleft lip and palate is a treatable birth difference that can be diagnosed by an ultrasound scan as early as 20 weeks of pregnancy and treatment counselling can start right there. With proper guidance and timely treatment, children with clefts can live healthy lives and can attain their full potential. Lack of information about the timelines of cleft care and superstitions can lead to uninformed decisions by parents of cleft-affected children. 

A team of medical experts from FOGSI and Smile Train India – including foetal medicine experts, neonatologists, obstetricians, gynaecologists, plastic and maxillofacial surgeons, paediatric anaesthesiologists, paediatricians, speech-language pathologists and orthodontists – have worked together to create a standard medical protocol which will be accessible by the entire obstetric and gynaecological community.

Regarding the announcement, Dr Shanta Kumari, President – FOGSI, said: ‘Being the first point of contact for mothers, gynaecologists play a pivotal role in identifying foetal anomalies and educating families with the right information, hence their training and awareness must be a priority at all times. Developing a protocol for early diagnosis and intervention for cleft lip and palate will help drive better surgical outcomes and improve the quality of life for cleft-affected children.’

FOGSI and Smile Train plan to disseminate this protocol to the entire obstetric and gynaecological community, and also create a referral programme for FOGSI members to direct underprivileged cleft patients to access free-of-cost treatment at Smile Train partner hospitals.