Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan emphasises on the necessity of early diagnosis and timely treatment of cleft among children, which, if left unattended, can lead to difficulties in breathing, speaking, eating, ENT infections and other complications.
The actress, who is the Global Goodwill Ambassador of Smile Train, a children's charity dealing with the treatment of cleft lip and palate was present at Mumbai's NH SRCC Children's Hospital (a partner hospital of Smile Train India) on the birth anniversary of her father Late Krishnaraj Rai on November 20, which is celebrated as the 'Day of Smiles'.
Speaking at the event Aishwarya emphasised on the need for early diagnosis and treatment of cleft and said: "Being a mother is a great feeling and it is a blessing that a lot of us are so grateful for. But I feel it is extremely important for a mother to be empowered with the information and knowledge for the betterment of their children at all times throughout their lifetime. Birth differences like cleft can be detected at a very early stage, as early as 20 weeks of pregnancy via an ultrasound scan. Smile Train is making an effort to help maximum children get this treatment at a very early stage. Through the network of Smile Train, the awareness that it is creating and the good work that it is doing, you can have an early diagnosis. In case your child has been detected to be born with a cleft, please do take the support of Smile Train and its partner hospitals across India to seek early intervention. This will help your child receive timely treatment and prevent further complications and thus enable to live their life to its fullest potential."
She also thanked doctors associated with Smile Train, saying: "It feels wonderful to see all you beautiful children, your smiling faces. I am just so grateful to God and to the wonderful work of you doctors that we are able to witness this blessing. I am able to remember my father, his vision, his legacy through the good work that you are doing today. So, thank you. Six Lakh surgeries by Smile Train! That's the good work that we are witnessing today. It is a very remarkable milestone! The impact it has created in so many children's lives and their families, so, God bless you all."
The actress also emphasized on the need to spread awareness especially among expectant mothers in our country where more than 35,000 babies are born with a cleft every year.
"While they are doing their bit to spread smiles all over the country, let us also come together and send children with clefts all our love and wishes. Spread the word amongst expectant mothers and the families to ensure children born with clefts are able to lead healthy and productive lives. Let us encourage each other to come together and give all these beautiful children a chance at a completely productive life," she concluded.
In 2017, in the memory of Aishwarya's father, late Krishnaraj Rai, Smile Train India had announced his birthday — November 20 — as the 'Day of Smiles' to honour his commitment to children with clefts through the Aishwarya Rai foundation. At the event, the Bollywood beauty was accompanied by her daughter Aaradhya and mother Vrinda Rai as they handed over gifts to kids who are cleft patients and spoke to their families.