DEERFIELD, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX), announced today a $2.2 million grant to Operation Smile, one of the world’s largest volunteer-based surgical nonprofit organizations, to deliver free surgical and multidisciplinary care to underserved communities in India. During the next three years, the grant will support Operation Smile’s year-round care centers in Mumbai, Srinagar and Bangalore—operated in partnership with the Inga Health Foundation—along with a new care center in Durgapur, West Bengal. These centers treat patients of all ages with cleft conditions and/or other facial differences and work to improve the quality and completeness of cleft care in the country.
“We are proud to work with Operation Smile to bring needed surgical care to those in India who have limited access to safe medical treatment,” said José (Joe) E. Almeida, chairman and chief executive officer, Baxter. “With Baxter employees positioned across India, this program is just one example of how we are committed to making a lasting impact in communities where our teams live and work.”
With a scarcity of both health providers and accessible services, local health systems in India face challenges meeting the surgical care needs of patients. Estimates suggest there may be more than 200,000 untreated cleft lip and cleft palate cases in the country.1 In addition to supporting the ongoing operations of the care centers, this grant will facilitate the education and training of local health care workers, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to deliver high quality patient care. The three-year grant is expected to directly and indirectly reach nearly 300,000 patients, family members and health workers.
“Since we founded Operation Smile in 1982, we’ve always envisioned a world where health and dignity are improved in communities around the world through access to safe surgery,” said Bill Magee, co-founder and chief executive officer of Operation Smile. “We’re grateful that Baxter shares our aspiration to transform healthcare around the world and bring care to underserved communities. Working together will allow us to contribute to strengthening the health systems in India and to bring the provision of safe surgery to those who need it most.”
The Operation Smile center in Durgapur at the IQ City Narayana Multispecialty Hospital opened earlier this year and will serve as a hub for operations in West Bengal and its surrounding states to support surgical services, education and training and ongoing medical programs. During its first week in operation, nearly 70 patients received free health evaluations at the Durgapur center and surgeons performed more than 25 procedures.
“Due to financial and social barriers, populations within India are unable to access proper surgical care and other services that are needed for complete cleft care such as speech therapy, dentistry and nutritional therapy,” said Partha Saddhu, M.D., medical director at the Durgapur Center. “Thanks to the Baxter International Foundation and Operation Smile’s support, we’re able to bring quality care to our patients at the Durgapur center and provide free surgery and advance patient care.”
To learn more about Baxter’s grant and the year-round care centers in India, please visit https://www.operationsmile.org/advancing-safe-surgery-india-long-form-page.
About the Baxter International Foundation
Every day, Baxter strives to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who depend on Baxter products and in the communities where employees live and work. The Baxter International Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Baxter International Inc., helps advance the company’s mission to save and sustain lives. Baxter partners with organizations around the world to increase access to healthcare for the underserved, to develop the next generation of innovators who will lead the way in advancing healthcare and to create a long-lasting impact in communities globally. Baxter is proud to support initiatives and organizations that make a positive, lasting impact in these critical areas. For more information, please visit https://www.baxter.com/our-story/corporate-responsibility.
Every day, millions of patients and caregivers rely on Baxter’s leading portfolio of critical care, nutrition, renal, hospital and surgical products. For more than 85 years, we’ve been operating at the critical intersection where innovations that save and sustain lives meet the healthcare providers that make it happen. With products, technologies and therapies available in more than 100 countries, Baxter’s employees worldwide are now building upon the company’s rich heritage of medical breakthroughs to advance the next generation of transformative healthcare innovations. To learn more, visit www.baxter.com and follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
About Operation Smile
Operation Smile has provided hundreds of thousands of safe surgeries for those born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial differences. With more than three decades of expertise, Operation Smile creates solutions that deliver free surgery to people where it’s needed most. As one of the largest medical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile has mobilized thousands of medical volunteers from a wide range of medical specialties from more than 80 countries. Operation Smile engages public-private partnerships to advance health care delivery, train local medical professionals to provide surgical care for patients in their communities, donate crucial medical equipment and supplies, and increase access to surgical care so that everyone living with cleft is treated. Visit www.operationsmile.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.
Baxter is a registered trademark of Baxter International Inc.
1 Carlson, L. C., Stewart, B. T., Hatcher, K. W., Kabetu, C., VanderBurg, R., & Magee, W. P. (2016, December). A Model of the Unmet Need for Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Surgery in Low-and Middle-Income Countries. World Journal of Surgery, 40(12), 2857-2867.