NEW DELHI, India, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Smile Train (http://www.smiletrain.org), an international non-profit organization committed to eradicating the problem of cleft lips and palates, announced today its entree into India. Its first partnership is with IMPACT India Foundation, a health care organization serving people throughout India, especially the rural poor. Through this partnership, The Smile Train will provide surgeries for children in India born with cleft lips and palates and fund research to reduce the incidence of cleft lips and palates in semi-urban, rural and tribal areas in India. "This is just the beginning for The Smile Train in India," said Charles B. Wang, Chairman and CEO of Computer Associates International, Inc. and founding board member of The Smile Train. "We intend to work closely with IMPACT India in order to provide training for doctors as well as surgeries for India's children. He continued, "we also plan on developing partnerships with other local organizations and hope to replicate the success of our work in China and bring the experience and commitment of The Smile Train organization to India. Our goal is to help as many children as possible throughout the world." "We are delighted to work closely with Smile Train, an organization that shares our mission of enhancing medical care in local communities," said A.H. Tobaccowala, founder and chairman of the IMPACT India Foundation. "With Lifeline Express, the world's first hospital train, we bring medical care to needy people in rural India. With the support of Smile Train, we are able to help many more of the estimated 40,000 children in India born each year with clefts." IMPACT India is one of many local programs Smile Train supports to provide free cleft surgery around the world. Smile Train partners with local medical organizations in more than 20 countries worldwide including: the United States, Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, Nepal, and Thailand. Smile Train also partners with local medical institutions to develop and deliver advanced cleft lip and palate teaching and education programs to in-country medical professionals. "Many children with clefts face lifelong disabilities and ostracism due to the lack of funds and medical services," said Baxter Urist, Smile Train president. "For relatively modest cost per surgery, we can permanently improve the lives of thousands of children. This opportunity to start in India with IMPACT India fits perfectly into our primary mission goals by providing surgery for as many cleft sufferers as we possibly can and supporting research that contributes to our quest for a cure." IMPACT India (http://www.impactfoundation.org) was created in 1983 to help India's rural poor who are disabled and handicapped. Since then, it has brought relief and recovery to tens of thousands of people suffering from preventable and treatable disabilities. The organization creates partnerships with governments, private companies and international organizations. IMPACT India Foundation is the best known part of a United Nations promoted (by UNDP, UNICEF and WHO) worldwide effort to prevent and relieve the effects of avoidable disability. The Lifeline Express hospital train was established in 1991 as part of IMPACT India Foundation's innovative health care projects. It has served over 250,000 disabled persons in rural India by restoring their sight, movement and hearing. Recently, IMPACT India decided to include cleft surgeries as a new dimension to its services on the train. The partnership with Smile Train will significantly expand the number of cleft surgeries on Lifeline Express. Worldwide, millions of children bear the burden of cleft lips and palates. Smile Train is dedicated to solving the problem of cleft lips and palates by providing free training for doctors and other medical professionals, free surgery to indigent children, and support for research dedicated to finding the causes and cures for cleft lips and palates. Smile Train partners with leading cleft organizations and medical institutions to provide services internationally. These include: the American Cleft-Palate-Craniofacial Association, Interplast, New York University Medical Center, John Hopkins University, Stanford, Yale, University of Texas, Australian Cranio Facial Foundation, and the China Charity Foundation.
SOURCE Smile Train