Partnership Adds Smiles to Children's Lives | Western Cape Government

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2011
(Department of Health, Western Cape Government)
149

Partnership Adds Smiles to Children's Lives

21 July 2011

Baby Amber (six months) was born with a cleft lip and palate. Without help, she faces a life of loneliness and broken smiles. However, thanks to the Smile Foundation and Adcock Ingram Healthcare, the only reminder of Amber's cleft lip and palate will soon be a tiny scar.

Amber is one of 20 children that will undergo reconstructive surgery during the Adding Smiles to Life with Adcock Ingram Smile Week held from 25 to 29 July at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town.

"These children's parents, families and communities will soon celebrate the fact that they have a beautiful smile and can go off to school when they're older without fear of being teased or isolated," said Moira Gerszt, Chief Operating Officer of the Smile Foundation.

"The theme for this year's Smile Week is 'Adding Smiles to Life with Adcock Ingram'. Our partnership with Adcock Ingram began last year. With their support, we will have made a difference in the lives of almost 40 children by the end of this Smile Week."

"Adcock Ingram is humbled by being part of this philanthropic initiative," says Dr Jonathan Louw, CEO for Adcock Ingram Healthcare.

"The funding that Adcock Ingram contributes towards these life-changing operations not only lessens the deformity of these children, but ensures that the every child is able to swallow both solids and liquids with ease. Our partnership with Smile Foundation reiterates our commitment to adding value to life and changing one child at a time" says Louw. The Smile Foundation has been partnering with academic hospitals in South Africa to help underprivileged children with facial conditions, alleviating backlogs in the hospitals, encouraging skills transfer, offering psychological help before and after surgery and supporting hospital infrastructure.

The partnership with Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital is now in its third year. As part of the partnership, the Smile Foundation funds the additional resources, staff, consumables and pays for the surgery. The hospital provides the infrastructure, staff, care, treatment and expertise.

The success of the Smile Week model has been widespread. To date, almost 700 children have benefited from surgeries around the country through the partnership with state academic hospitals. In the Western Cape, 80 children have been helped during the various Smile Weeks held in the province. Western Cape Health Minister, Theuns Botha, said: "We are proud to have some of the best surgeons in the world to take part in this project. Dr Saleigh Adams, Dr Dirk Lazarus, Dr Greg Hein and Dr Suvier Singh - thank you for your dedication.

"These operations will enable children to smile. No money can buy that. This project is a joint investment in our youth and the future wellness of our people. In particular, I want to thank Adcock Ingram for the trust they have placed in the Western Cape through their sponsorship."

Recently, the Western Cape Provincial Parliament accepted a resolution in which they "saluted" the Smile Foundation for their work in the Western Cape and expressed their "gratitude" and "appreciation" for the work that the Smile Foundation and their surgeons are doing.

Media Enquiries: 

Lauren O'Connor-May
Principal Communications Officer
Tel: 021 658 5448
Cell: 084 586 1413
Fax: 021 658 5333
E-mail: rxhpro@pgwc.gov.za