PIGEON PHILIPPINES recently announced its support for OPERATION SMILE PHILIPPINES, a non-profit organization that specializes in expert comprehensive cleft care. This collaboration between Pigeon, a global expert in mother and baby care, and Operation Smile, a global charity organization for children’s needs, has already begun in several neighboring Asian countries.
Ms. Cathy Que, Division Marketing Manager for Infant Products of Richwell Phils. Inc., the country’s distributor of the Pigeon brand, formally handed over donations to Operation Smile Philippines’ Executive Director Mr. Emiliano Romano, and Operation Smile Regional Director for Philippines Mr. Kevin Thor at their Makati headquarters.
“Operation Smile Philippines assists those with cleft lip and palate, particularly those with limited or no financial resources to pay for surgery. They also have nutritional monitoring programs because it’s necessary for babies to be healthy before an operation, and that’s where Pigeon comes in because Pigeon cares for babies worldwide,” Cathy explains. She also mentioned that Pigeon will be celebrating its 65th global anniversary in August and that this collaboration with Operation Smile Philippines is just one of the perfect ways for the brand to show its continued support to Filipino mothers and babies in need.
According to Operation Smile Philippines statistics, one child is born with a cleft every three minutes, and one out of every 500 Filipino babies has a cleft condition. That is why the organization is committed to providing comprehensive cleft care to children and adults, allowing them to live happier and healthier lives.
“Surgery accounts for only about 10% to 20% of everything we do in Operation Smile. Another is nutritional support, which is why this collaboration with Pigeon would be extremely beneficial to us. The second would be dental, which could be a regular dental extraction or, if an adult is unable to receive open palate surgery, we do what we call an obturator, which is a prosthetic that we put inside the mouth just to temporarily close the palate,” Emiliano explains.
He mentions that Operation Smile also offers speech therapy and psychosocial support to people with cleft palates and their families due to the risk of bullying in the community.
A baby with a cleft lip can be operated on at six months, and a one-year-old can have cleft palate surgery. “At Operation Smile, we’re really focused on access to safe surgery. That’s why we say six months because that’s what we know that we can operate safely, that’s the global medical standards that we’ve established worldwide. That’s why we do lip and palate separately. When they’re getting older, we have a priority system for our patients so once they get about the age of 10 or 12, that’s when we start to do a second evaluation depending on their condition since the variations impact the safety of it…Other alterations that would support their speech are the primary thing for that case for older patients. Ultimately, we’re trying to reach patients as young as possible because they are a lower risk with surgical care,” says Kevin.
Pigeon Philippines’ support meant a lot to Operation Smile Philippines because it would greatly improve the nutritional aspect of their comprehensive cleft care. Pigeon will not only provide tools to assist in the administration of proper nutrition to babies with cleft conditions, but it will also reduce patient rejection for surgery. “When we look at the patient’s malnourishment in the initial screening, we can now provide products where moms can administer proper feeding sessions, giving their child proper nutrients so that when they return, they can receive surgery,” says Emiliano.
Both Operation Smile Philippines and Pigeon Philippines are considering more initiatives like this in the future to benefit both Filipino mothers and babies.