Dr. Adenwalla: A Smile Maker

Half a century. Hundreds and hundreds of lives saved. One legendary doctor.

Dr Adenwalla cleft surgeon pioneer

Smile Train partner surgeon Dr. Hirji S. Adenwalla is, quite possibly, the only surgeon in the world who has been exclusively performing cleft surgeries for the last 15 years.

Dr Adenwall-looks-at-cleft-palate

He is the head of The Charles Pinto Cleft Centre at Thrissur’s Jubilee Mission Hospital in south India, the very first hospital to apply for Smile Train’s partnership in the country back in 2000. Under Dr. Adenwalla’s direction, the centre has become one of India’s leading comprehensive cleft training centers and attracts young medical students from all over India.

Dr Adenwalla with a large group of doctors and patients

He sets a strict pace for his team to follow. He has seen more than 16,000 cleft lip and palate surgeries performed at his centre. He performs cleft surgery three times a week.

And, he’s 85-years-old.

A patient of Dr Adenwalla smiles at camera

Treating children with clefts has become his obsession. An obsession that caused him to pull the emergency stop on a moving train when he saw a child with an unrepaired cleft outside on the platform.

Dr Adenwalla in his office full of images of surgeons

His consultation room has a portrait of René Laennec, the inventor of the stethoscope, and is covered with signed black-and-white photos of surgical pioneers from around the world.

In our opinion, Dr. Adenwalla is the ultimate smile maker as he changes the faces of India’s cleft children one little smile at a time.