Transforming Faces—a registered Canadian charity—empowers local multi-disciplinary medical teams to provide free comprehensive cleft lip and cleft palate care – pre and post – cleft palate surgery for children and adults in developing countries.
Our Approach: Beyond a single cleft lip and palate surgery
A comprehensive team approach results in positive, lasting transformation.
Cleft lip and palate creates a number of health issues including difficulty eating, speaking, hearing and developing socially. By using a comprehensive approach that involves a team of medical specialists, children’s physical and psychological health dramatically improves.
A multidisciplinary approach to cleft lip and cleft palate treatment is often lacking in developing countries. Some children receive poor quality surgery. Some receive proper surgery, but no follow-up or specialized care. Some have no access to treatment or support at all. Transforming Faces aims to close this gap.
Who we help
Millions of children and adults in developing countries suffer from unrepaired clefts. Many are abandoned shortly after birth, or kept hidden away from society. Most find it difficult to attend school, communicate easily, find jobs or get married.
Transforming Faces seeks to make long-term treatment accessible to low-income patients and their families so they can go on to live healthy, productive lives.
How we work
Transforming Faces funds, collaborates, consults, and trains local cleft teams, which include: audiologists, dentists, nurse co-ordinators, orthodontists, social workers, speech therapists, and surgeons. Our multidisciplinary teams go beyond the initial surgery.
COMPREHENSIVE Treatment for Cleft Lip or Cleft Palate Patients
This infographic illustrates our treatment services for children and adults with cleft lip and cleft palate.
For a more in-depth look at our approach, read about our principles of cleft lip and palate care here.
The power of comprehensive Cleft Lip and Palate Care
It starts at birth
When a baby is born with cleft lip or palate, it’s vital that the attending medical team offers parents immediate support and information on care options.
It starts at birth
Breastfeeding can present a challenge but there are several options for feeding during the first weeks and months of life. The nursing team helps walk new mothers and families through these options and supports them in their choice.
Social workers help new parents address any challenging circumstances or emotions they may be experiencing so they can move confidently forward with treatment.
For older children who have gone without cleft treatment for years, counselling helps overcome any negative experiences and helps them adjust to transformation.
Ongoing co-operation between the surgeon and other medical specialists ensures the best possible results for lip surgery (10 to 12 weeks) and palate surgery (9 to 12 months).
Some cleft conditions are too complex to repair in a child’s home country, as was the case for Yeabsra, who travelled from Ethiopia for surgery at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
Some believe the child is ‘fixed’ with physical repairs, but follow-up and rehabilitation are absolutely vital to address hearing, dental and speech issues.
To support families affected by cleft lip and palate, we employ community-based workers, provide in-home treatment, pay travel costs for appointments and fund parent support groups.
Speech therapists are highly trained professionals who identify and help children solve problems that keep them from speaking clearly and competently.
Speech therapy is integral to the rehabilitation process and prepares children for a more confident childhood and a brighter future.
Children with clefts can be at higher risk for hearing loss, so early diagnosis and ongoing monitoring by an audiologist is important to a child’s healthy development.
ENT specialists play a vital role in treating ear infections and inserting grommets.
A healthy smile
Good oral hygiene is critical, as is the work of dentists and orthodontists in correcting the bite for healthy chewing, speaking and breathing.
A healthy smile
Transforming Faces is a strong advocate of comprehensive cleft care – training and supporting cleft specialists to help children live the full, vibrant lives they are entitled to.