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Philippine charity continues to help cleft patients despite pandemic by utilizing telehealth


It is estimated that a child is born every 3 minutes with a cleft lip, cleft palate or both worldwide — about one in 500-750 births. Usually, with surgery, a child born with a cleft can have a new, beautiful smile and live a normal life. However, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has meant that affected babies are having even greater difficulty in getting their much-needed cleft treatment. Fortunately, cleft charities are continuing their work by taking advantage of telehealth solutions. One such charity is Smile Train, whose Philippine arm has continued providing ongoing comprehensive cleft care including nutrition, speech therapy and psychological support to patients, despite temporarily postponing surgeries. “This year was a different year because of the Covid pandemic. The last three or four months we saw a drop in the number of cases in many hospital nationwide. Some stopped doing operations. But Smile Train is not just about surgery. What we strive to do is to be able to provide cleft comprehensive care to those who need it whether be it counseling, guidance in terms of how do you breastfeed baby with a cleft or after surgery, what does the child still need, among others,” said Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Country Director of Smile Train Philippines, during a virtual media conference. Flaviano said the charity is also providing psychosocial support to older patients via telehealth, to help boost their self-confidence. Since parents of cleft babies aren’t able to visit clinics resulting to unanswered questions, Smile Train is trying to support them through virtual consultations with their partner surgeons or doctors, or through Facebook Live discussions.

Dr. Dominique VASSE


Dr. Dominique VASSE, Toulouse   "My specialty is aesthetic, and in my opinion, there is no limit between reconstructive surgery and aesthetic surgery, the aim is always aesthetic." – English speaking surgeon – Former Specialist registrar of the hospitals of Marseille – Former Senior Register of faculty of Marseille – Former Assistant of theHospitals of Marseille – Attached to Toulouse’s hospital – Specialist in plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery – Certified by the European Board of Plastic, reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery – Top level diploma in microsurgery of Marseille – Inter-university diploma in humanitarian plastic surgery – Active member of “Société Française de Chirurgie Plastique, Reconstructrice et esthétique” (SOCPRE) – Member of the “College de Chirurgie Plastique, Reconstructrice et Esthétique” – Associate member of “Sociétéfrançaise de Chirurgie de la Main” (GEM) hand surgery – Surgeon with personal accreditation of the High Authority of Health since December 2008 – Former in medical hypnosis in the framework of the French Association for the study of medical hypnosis. 2013 (Benhaiem M.D.) – University Degree in Medical Hypnosis University Pierre and Marie Curie Paris VI 2014 January. - Takes part of a medical team which goes out on humanitarian missions to Tchad in Moundou, as a member of Association Handicap Santé and the association MNDP. She carries out operations mostly on children, with cleft lip deformities and severe burns. - Personal accreditation of the HAS since December 2008. The surgical operations are carried out exclusively at the Clinique de l’Union, in order to ensure the maximum security comfort and hygiene for the patient together (whit a highly competent and skilled top class team of theatre technician’s doctors and surgeons).