Transforming Faces is a founding sponsor of the Circle of Cleft Professionals (CoCP), a growing global network of cleft professionals with an interest in promoting CCC in resource-constrained contexts. Together, in support of Vaccine Health Worker Awareness Week, we offer the following statement in solidarity:

The  Circle of Cleft Professionals (CoCP) is a coalition of the world’s leading cleft lip and palate organizations. We work with thousands of health workers around the globe to support health outcomes for infants, children, and adults affected by cleft.

Worldwide, over 150,000 babies are born with cleft each year. These individuals need timely access to nutrition services, surgical care, oral health and orthodontic care, as well as speech therapy to prevent life-disability, morbidity, and premature death.

In a recent global study of cleft professionals in low and middle-income countries (LMICs), nearly 80% report a distressing decrease in the number of patients accessing critical cleft care due to the pandemic.

Though vaccines are now being distributed in more than 161 countries and territories across the world, vaccination has barely begun in the majority of LMICs.

We must prioritize rapid vaccination, beginning with health workers, to save lives and stop the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. With new variants emerging, vaccine equity is not only a moral imperative —it is a matter of global security and our shared future.

In this Year of the Health and Care Worker, we stand in solidarity with all suffering through the struggles of the pandemic. We are in complete support of the  WHO’s Vaccine Equity Declaration, and urge policymakers to prioritize health care professionals within national vaccine distribution to enable them to care for all patients and their communities safely.