MANILA, PHILIPPINES – In the Philippines, where more than 5,000 babies are born with a cleft lip and/or palate every year, access to various cleft-related treatments such as speech therapy remains vital. This is especially true during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when ensuring patients can continue their speech therapy sessions became a pressing concern.
Standing by its commitment to continue promoting comprehensive cleft care, Smile Train, the world’s leading cleft-focused organization, endeavored to bring its speech therapy programs direct to patients by launching the country’s first Filipino speech therapy mobile application. The platform allows more patients born with a cleft to continue receiving comprehensive cleft care with greater ease using their smartphones. (The Smile Train Filipino mobile speech application is free and downloadable on both Apple and Google Play Store. Visit https://smiletrainspeechapp.com/ for more feature details.)
The impact of this innovative application as well as Smile Train’s telehealth services were recognized at the 57th Anvil Awards, winning the Silver Award.
“As Smile Train strives to create a brighter future for Filipinos born with a cleft, we are grateful to receive this recognition for the second time as this is a testament of our organization’s efforts to bring uninterrupted care and convenient access to patients amidst the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Vice President, Smile Train South East Asia.
Since the programs were launched in 2020, Smile Train’s speech telehealth and therapy programs in the Philippines have treated over 300 patients, providing them with more than 2,000 cleft care-related sessions—including speech therapy, nutritional support, breastfeeding guidance for mothers of babies with clefts, pre-surgical consultations, and psychosocial care. From 2020 to 2021, Smile Train and its 26 partners supported a total of 2,125 sessions for over 223 individuals for speech services alone. Despite COVID-19 restrictions, patients still have access to Smile Train’s services and are still able to schedule surgeries in partner hospitals.
“Smile Train has always been committed to exploring various avenues and utilizing technology to provide comprehensive cleft care to reach more patients and communities in the country,” shared Flaviano. “All these programs built on the earlier successes of Smile Train’s efforts at the onset of the pandemic, notably Speech Camp 2020, which is a series of virtual therapy classes and discussions conducted by speech language pathologists and medical professionals.”
To know more about Smile Train’s global efforts and to donate, please visit smiletrain.org. To learn more about Smile Train’s local programs in the Philippines and to refer a patient in need, please visit smiletrain.ph/get-help. Follow Smile Train Philippines on Instagram @SmileTrainPh, and like us on Facebook at @SmileTrainPhilippines.