Our Work in Costa Rica
Segmented cleft care prevents full rehabilitation in Costa Rica. We’re partnering to ensure families have access to timely, coordinated care.
Cleft Care in Costa Rica Today
While Costa Rica has a public health system, the availability of care and resources does not meet the needs of families. Many medical staff outside the capital city are unfamiliar with cleft and are underequipped to provide effective care.
Families with limited financial resources, especially those within indigenous communities, simply cannot access Comprehensive Cleft Care.
With our local partner, we help rural families make the journey to access ongoing cleft care services, coordinate the elements of care and make continuing their cleft journey possible.
- Population: 5,217,000
- Capital: San José
- Below Poverty Line: 20%
- Cleft Incidence: 85+/ year
Children in Costa Rica often experience bullying at school focused on their speech or facial difference and parents without knowledge of cleft can feel unprepared to help their child thrive.
Speech therapy is limited to paid private practice beyond the age of 4, making no-cost speech support a high-demand necessity for vulnerable families.
Transportation & Accommodation
Many families reside outside of the capital and travel to access surgery and in-person appointments. No-cost transport and access to accommodation help this burden.
Samantha Practicing with her Speech Therapist
LPH provides workshops on early stimulation in speech therapy, for families with children up to two years old. This helps parents prepare to assist their children with their speech therapy journey. Samantha, in this video works on her speech clarity.
Schools now regularly participate in an annual national cleft campaign
Cleft care treatments provided since partnering in 2017
Indigenous children with untreated cleft were identified as a result of the national campaign
Stories from Costa Rica
Eight-year-old Rachel and her family live atop a lush mountain in rural Costa Rica, about 30 minutes from the nearest town – Cartago. She enjoys taking care of her pet hamster, and playing on her swing outside in the fresh air. She attends a one-roomed schoolhouse, and her favourite subject is Math. Her father operates…
Samantha is an absolute chatterbox. She is a bubbly and energetic two-year-old, who loves meeting new people. When members of the Transforming Faces’ team visited her family in early April, we noticed this right away. She was keen to share her speech therapy homework that she enjoys doing with her mother, Jimena, and was proudly…
Hospitals worldwide are being cleared to make space for intensive care patients, and physical distancing requirements and lockdowns have necessarily postponed all traditional community-based cleft care. During this stressful time, TF’s local partners are developing outreach programs that do not put families at risk of contracting or transmitting COVID-19. Their ingenuity and dedication to their…
In 2017, TF began our partnership with Asociacion LPH – an organization that works in collaboration with local health and education ministries to improve cleft care for children and young adults in Costa Rica. Over the past year, LPH and TF have expanded essential services provided to children born with cleft and their families, ensuring…
Our Partners in Cleft Care
TF has been supporting partners in Costa Rica since 2017.
Our Partnerships in Costa Rica
- Asociación Pro Niño con Labio y/o Paladar Hendido (Asociación LPH), San José