Event held at Poona Hospital to honour surgery milestones for children born with clefts
Pune, December 01, 2016: Continuing with the Group’s commitment that,“Society must Profit back from Profit itself”, Bajaj Finserv Limited, the holding company for Bajaj Finance Ltd, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance Company,is celebrating 15000 free cleft lip and palate reconstructive surgeries towards underprivileged children in India as part of aninitiativefunded by Bajaj Finserv in association with Smile Train. This also marks the completion of 5000 free cleft surgeriesat Poona Hospital in association with Smile Train.
Theevening was filled withthe brightest smiles, children born with cleft lips and palates celebrated their cleft repair surgeries with senior management of Bajaj Finserv and subsidiary companies, team from Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft charity, andmanagement and staff of Poona Hospital and Research Centre. The CSR partnership under Bajaj Finserv Limited supports free cleft surgeries at 23 partner hospitals across the country, including Poona Hospital.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Sanjiv Bajaj, Managing Director of Bajaj Finserv Limited said, “We stand committed to the cause of giving back to the society. Over the years, we have undertaken many initiatives around social empowerment, particularly towards helping lesser privileged children. Through such initiatives, we help these children create a better future for themselves. Our partnership with Smile Train creates a better future for these children.”
Present at the event was Mr. Susannah Schaefer, Executive Vice Chair and Chief Executive Officer, Smile Train, an international children’s charity which has helped provide over 1.2 million free, cleft repair surgeries for children in over 87 countries. Ms Schaefer, who is in India for a brief visit, said, “More than 170,000 children in developing countries, are born with clefts every year. They don’t get the opportunity to lead a normal life or enjoy their childhood, because of the myths and taboos associated with the deformity or simply because their families cannot afford the cost of the surgery. Cleft repair surgery is simple and the transformation is immediate. Providing corrective surgeries to children at the right age gives them the opportunity to go to school, get a job and become productive members of the society.”
Speaking about the surgery milestones, Susannah Schaefer said, “Support from corporates like the Bajaj group is critical to our work as it not only helps us sustain our work but enables us to extend it and add greater value to it. We look forward to a long and mutually fulfilling partnership with the Bajaj group. I also take this opportunity to congratulate Poona Hospital on the completion of 5000 surgeries and the excellent care they provide to the cleft patient.”
In India, over 35,000 children are born with clefts every year and over 10 lakh children with untreated clefts live in isolation, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing and speaking. Since the year 2000, Smile Train’s sustainable model provides training, funding and resources to empower local doctors and hospitals across India to provide 100%-free cleft repair surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. This ‘teach a man to fish’ strategy has enabled Smile Train India to provide over 4, 75,000 free surgeries through a network of 170 partner hospitals.
Giving an in-depth insight on cleft defects, Dr. Shrirang Pandit, Smile Train partner surgeon, Poona Hospital and Research Center, said, “A simple cleft correction surgery which takes as little as 45 minutes can correct this birth defect. We are extremely happy to be associated with Smile Train and Bajaj Finserv, to enable kids come out of isolation and stigma and lead healthy positive lives.”