When you look at the bright, smiling face of Jaya from India, you’d never guess the struggles she faced as a baby.
Jaya is now an active 5-year-old who jumps out of bed and rushes to school each morning to see her friends. She’ll never know the heartbreak of being bullied or shunned because of her appearance. She can eat, drink, and speak without issue. She’s a true success story, and it’s all thanks to a partnership formed on the other side of the world.
In 2018, GSK Consumer Healthcare teamed up with Smile Train, a world-leading charity which offers free, life-changing surgery and comprehensive care to children with clefts in more than 70 countries. GSK Consumer Healthcare believes everyone deserves oral healthcare, but not everyone has equal access to it. They’ve made it their goal to change that fact, and their partnership with Smile Train does just that.
GSK Consumer Healthcare provides Smile Train with the funding and support to help even more children with clefts. Since 1 in 700 children in the world is born with a cleft, the partnership provides invaluable assistance for people in some of the world’s most financially insecure regions.
Jaya was the first child to receive free cleft surgery and treatment through the GSK Consumer Healthcare and Smile Train partnership. Parents Arun and Sudha live on just $3 a day, so paying for expensive surgery and therapies was simply out of the question.
Thankfully, the staff at their local hospital knew about Smile Train. With funding provided by GSK Consumer Healthcare, it was just a matter of time before Jaya’s cleft would be repaired!
The first step in the process was a doctor evaluation, and then a nurse taught Sudha how to feed Jaya so the infant could grow strong enough for surgery. Just seeing her daughter get much-needed nourishment meant the world to the young mother, who’d worried Jaya would choke on milk like so many other babies with clefts.
“I’d been very nervous about Jaya’s health,” Sudha said. “A nurse showed me how to feed Jaya and assured us that everything would be fine.”
Soon, Jaya returned to the hospital to have her cleft surgery. Sudha recalled how difficult it was to hand her baby over.
When I finally had to give the baby away for the surgery, I broke down completely. I have no words to describe what I went through. But the nurses and doctors who were there took good care of everything. The way they treated the child, the way they handled her tubes, and the way they carried her around… all these are unforgettable memories. When I finally got the baby in my arms, I was able to see that they did a wonderful job.Sudha
Everything went perfectly, and because she’d had such early intervention, she’s expected to live a long, healthy life with no limitations! Her grateful family knows they’d never have been able to afford these medical services without Smile Train and GSK Consumer Healthcare.
“We are thrilled with Jaya’s progress,” Arun said. “She looks forward to going to school in the morning and to the park in the evening to play with other children.”
April 7th is World Health Day, and this year’s focus is on protecting our planet and our individual health. We can all find ways to create a world where everyone has access to medical and oral care. Supporting Smile Train and GSK Consumer Healthcare on their mission “To Deliver Better Everyday Health with Humanity” is a great place to start.
“After our experience with GSK, I can confidently say that any child anywhere in the world with a cleft can be healed,” Arun said. “My child is living proof of that. She can do whatever any other child could do, maybe even better, with the help of GSK.”
Since the start of their partnership, GSK Consumer Healthcare have helped train 8,813 healthcare professionals, performed 13,537 life-changing surgeries, and supported over 38,000 families worldwide.
At the end of the day, it’s all about helping others to enjoy the same quality of life as we do. GSK Consumer Healthcare and Smile Train are leveling the playing field for kids like Jaya; transforming lives, one smile at a time.
Every child deserves to be the healthiest and happiest they can be. So will you join us on World Health Day in spreading the word about GSK Consumer Healthcare’s amazing impact? Share this story today!
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