Children born with cleft require regular monitoring of their oral health and orthodontic care. Taking time away from work to accompany children to appointments is an extra burden for rural families.
NWDF, TF's partner in Thailand and Laos, has created extensive resources for parents and children to learn about proper oral care including how-to guides, videos, and offering in-person and online training sessions.
TF’s partner SRIHER provides dental care locally during community camps through a mobile dental bus. Families see the same team members on a regular basis, ensuring continuity of care.
Did you know?
Aesthetic concerns may be high on the list of priorities for some families affected by cleft. However, without oral care, children with cleft are at greater risk for caries and periodontal disease, in addition to the functional challenges of dental anomalies.
Shiori, the Warrior Princess
Cleft Care in Focus
Shiori, or as called by the staff of Programa Creciendo, ‘The Warrior Princess’, was born with a cleft lip and palate. She received this nickname because she had a positive disposition to sometimes uncomfortable pre-surgical treatments. Shiori and her parents have demonstrated utmost determination and commitment to the recovery journey.
Shiori was born at a hospital, in the outskirts of Lima. Her cleft came as an immense surprise moments after delivery.
Thankfully, doctors immediately told Florentino about Programa Creciendo – TF’s local partner. Camila had birth complications and would need to recover in hospital for a few weeks. While his wife convalesced, Florentino was ready and willing to take his daughter to her first cleft care appointments.
First course of action? Nutrition counselling. Shiori’s parents learned to feed her with an upright bottle, a method used for children with cleft palate. This will help her to gain more weight in preparation for surgery.
Next? Nasoalveolar Molding (NAM). NAM is a pre-surgical dental and orthodontic treatment that can lead to better treatment outcomes. Since oral care is a pressing concern for many children with cleft, Shiori will have access to free teeth cleaning, cavity prevention, and teeth brushing support. Later in her childhood Shiori will require orthodontic treatment.
Camila shared “I thank God and you! I learned there was a solution for my baby’s problems, and I can see results, which motivate us to move forward”.
Thank you to TF staff, partners and volunteers for photos featured in this report and to Sahil Ali for additional film and photography. Visual design by Jessica Orduz.
Edited by Kristian Wykes
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