Smile Train partner surgeon Dr. Ataklitie Berhea from Ethiopia was selected to receive a scholarship for advanced training in multidisciplinary cleft care.

“The main problem for these patients not to have the [cleft] surgery could be of different reason, but the main reason is economy. They don’t have money. They may have awareness. They may know it can be fixed, but they don’t have the money. So Smile Train has been supporting for all the surgeries and patients are not paying anything. Everything is covered for them – transportation, meal, hospital stay, surgery, drugs. Everything is covered for patients.

“This child was going to have a cleft lip and palate deformity, and she wanted to kill him. But she came to our hospital for surgery. She got information from a [local radio station]. And she heard about it and we fixed the lip and within six months or so we fixed the palate. And she said 'This time, I’m going to take the child to my parents.'

“Four and a half years for nearly 5,000 patients. This is not the case some years back. Some years back, when Smile Train was not in the picture it was 150 surgeries a year.”

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