Smile Train to Provide Free Cleft Surgeries for Children in India

Nov 16, 1999, 00:00 ET from Smile Train

    NEW DELHI, India, Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Smile Train
 (, 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
     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
     "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 ( 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