manipur governor dr najma heptulla speaking at The Smile Torch event in Imphal on thursday
Image: Northeast Now

Manipur Governor Dr Najma Heptulla on Thursday said ‘Smile Torch’ is aimed at generating awareness about cleft and the efforts for its amelioration.

The Governor said ‘Smile Torch’ symbolizes the light of wisdom and the passion for knowledge a metaphor for dispelling darkness of myths, fallacies and social stigma surrounding clefts.

Governor Dr Heptulla was speaking at ‘The Smile Torch’ event, a culminating ceremony to show patronage to their Smile Train partners, for their efforts on spreading awareness on clefts in Imphal on Thursday.

Smile Train Partner Surgeon Dr Kh Palin attended the ceremony.

The function was organized by Shija Foundation of the Shija Hospitals in Imphal. Smile Train, an NGO based in the United States, is working for the goal to eradicate the global problem of cleft lips and palates.

Addressing the ceremony, Governor Dr Heptulla said, ‘Smile Torch’ is a unique national initiative for creating renewed awareness about cleft and its treatment and to sensitize communities about the challenges faced by children born with clefts.

Appreciating the services rendering by the Shija Foundation, she stated that the government alone cannot bear the full burden of health care.  At least, a part of it must be given out to voluntary services, to people who are willing to serve the health system.

Apart from free corrective surgeries, other additional service under Smile Train Shija Cleft Project includes free diagnostic facilities, hospital accommodation, speech therapy and travelling allowance upto a permissible limit. However, many children born with such birth defects have not availed of these facilities simply due to lack of awareness.

As part of Thursday’s programme, Smile Train partner surgeon Dr Kh Palin gave presentation on Smile Train Shija Cleft Project. Managing Director Dr Vikethonyu of Oking Hospital, Kohima shared on Mission Nagaland. Smile Train partner surgeon Prof Dr Guruaribam Nilamani Sharma reported on Smile Torch event at Imphal and prizes were also distributed to the winners of Smile Torch spot painting competition which was held on April 28 under the theme -“What Makes Me Smile”.

Sobhapati Samom

Sobhapati Samom is Northeast Now Correspondent in Imphal. He can be reached at:

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