Our Work in Thailand

In Northern Thailand, we’re working to ensure the most vulnerable families have access to a full circle of cleft care as close to home as possible.

Our local partner, NWDF, works with families to ensure proper oral hygiene.

Cleft Care in Thailand Today

While cleft surgeries are provided through the public health system for Thai nationals, many migrants and Indigenous groups must pay in order to access cleft treatment or look elsewhere.

For Thai citizens in the rural North where Transforming Faces partners, the needs are greater than the available resources of the public system. On the other side of the Mekong River in Laos, families affected by cleft have few local options for adequate medical services forcing them to look to Thailand for unsubsidized cleft care.

Since 2000, Transforming Faces and our local partner, Northern Women’s Development Foundation (NWDF), have been providing no-cost Comprehensive Cleft Care from infancy to adulthood for the region’s most marginalized families.

Fast Facts

  • Population: 71,697,000
  • Capital: Bangkok
  • Below Poverty Line: 6%
  • Cleft Incidence: ~1,700/ year

Key Challenges

  • Key-Challenge-Surgery-Speech-Therapy

    Surgery + Speech Therapy

    Northern Thailand faces a shortage of qualified cleft surgeons and speech therapists, with most trained professionals concentrated in the capital city.

  • Key-Challenge-Transportation

    Transportation Assistance

    Many of the families our local partner supports travel long distances across the border from Laos to access care.

  • Community Engagement

    Community Engagement

    Families in the region are very spread out and NWDF relies on community health partners to provide care as close to home as possible.

The Importance of Speech Therapy for Cleft Patients in Thailand

Meet two participants receiving cleft care in Thailand - Ratchaneekorn and Nattanon. They express their gratitude for the confidence and clear communication they achieved through speech therapy.

As their Comprehensive Cleft Care treatment journey neared its end, both Ratchaneekorn and Nattanon were receiving orthodontic treatment. Today, both have experienced full rehabilitation and are leading full lives.

Program Successes


The number of years our local partner typically supports families of children born with cleft


Of families remained committed to Comprehensive Care this year after beginning their journey with our local partner, NWDF


The number of community and healthcare organizations NWDF collaborates with to ensure children access care close to home

“When a child is born with cleft lip and palate in Northern Thailand, access to ongoing cleft care can be limited, especially for indigenous groups.  Migrants from neighbouring countries are not often covered by the public health system. Through NWDF, these patients can access comprehensive care.”

- Phanomwan Yoodee, CCC Team Lead, NWDF

Stories from Thailand

Our Partners in Cleft Care

TF has been supporting partners in Thailand since 2000.

Our Partnerships in Thailand

  • Northern Women’s Development Foundation (NWDF), Chiang Rai
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