With the aim of building a long-term presence of cleft lip and palate treatment and rehabilitation in the community, we support the development of local, multi-disciplinary medical teams. Here, we profile some of our local partners.

Meet a Partner: Dr. Benjamas Prathanee, Speech and Language Pathologist

BenjamasProfessor Benjamas Prathanee is a Speech and Language Pathologist and Director of the Speech Clinic at the Center of Cleft Lip –Palate and Craniofacial Deformities in Association with Tawanchai Project at Khon Kaen University. 

Representatives from Khon Kaen University also presented the cleft birth registry during  Session #63 – Health Care / Epidemiology II at the Cleft Congress. 

Her areas of interest include speech disorders in cleft lip and palate patients and speech camps and other community-based speech models. 

TF recently partnered with the Tawanchai Cleft Center to develop a birth registry to better track cleft patients and co-ordinate care.

Meet a Partner: Mrs. Suteera Pradubwong, nurse

SuteeraMrs. Suteera Pradubwong has worked as a nurse at the Srinagarind Teaching Hospital in Khon Kaen, Thailand, since 1990. 

Since 2007, she has held the position of Nurse Coordinator at the Center of Cleft Lip-Cleft Palate and Craniofacial Deformities at Khon Kaen University, in Association with the Tawanchai Project.

Meet a Partner: Tanyaratch Sampanthawong, project coordinator

Tanyaratch Sampanthawong has worked as Project Coordinator with the Cleft lip, Cleft Palate Repair and Rehabilitation Project in the in the cities of Chiangmai and Chiangrai in Northern Region of Thailand since 2005.

TanyaratchThe project originated as a response to the need for cleft lip and palate surgery for children from tribal groups in Northern Thailand, where many families cannot afford the costs of surgery and rehabilitation. Many do not hold Thai identity cards or are migrant workers from neighbouring Laos and Myanmar and do not benefit from public health care. 

With a background in community work, she currently coordinates the project from Chiangrai, Thailand. She plans the project, assists with the budget, seeks out new patients, and does public relations. She also acts as a coordinator between the patient, smaller cleft centres and hospitals.

At the Congress, Tanyaratch attended sessions about capacity building of team care, holistic outcomes measures for cleft care, and speech therapy without speech therapists. 

The project has been managed by the Northern Women’s Development Foundation in partnership with TF since 1999. At present,  the YMCA of Chiangmai and Overbrook Hospital also cooperate with the project.   

Since 2000, Transforming Faces has attempted to provide speech therapy to registered patients. There are only 108 speech pathologists and 86 audiologists in Thailand, a country with a population of 69 million. In conjunction with NWDF, Transforming Faces has attempted to expand its reach by training village health workers to support a team of speech pathologists in reaching out to rural patients in Thailand and Laos.

In 2012, we formally launched Speech and Dental Camps in Thailand-Laosto deal with the lack of speech therapy services. This is an innovative pilot project, which is partially co-financed with Smile Train.

Meet some more Thai partners!

Find out more about our work in Thailand!