Storz Teams Up with Smile Train Africa To Give a Voice to Children with Clefts

April 20, 2020 | Smile Train

Storz, the world’s leading endoscope manufacturer, has donated three nasoendoscopes to Smile Train partners in Africa. This specialized equipment, in addition to the training needed to utilize them, will go a long way toward bringing high-quality, comprehensive care to Africans with clefts.

Smile Train presentation

Many children with clefts still struggle to speak after surgery due to a condition called velopharyngeal dysfunction, or “VPD." This condition, in which air escapes through the nose during speech, can persist even after cleft palate surgery. Unfortunately, due to a lack of equipment, training, and health worker shortages, surgery to address VPD is not widely available in Africa and robust collaboration between surgeons and speech therapists in cleft teams is rare.

Smile Train training group shot

The nasoendoscopes donated by Storz, and the essential training that accompanied the gift, has changed this reality for many providers and patients. For five days, one surgeon and one speech therapist each from Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, and Nigeria came together for a joint training at Smile Train partner hospital AIC Kijabe in Kenya. The four surgeons were trained on VPD prevention and treatment, while the four speech therapy practitioners learned new techniques on speech assessment and nasoendoscopy.

Smile Train certificates

“On behalf of everyone at Smile Train, I want to thank Storz for helping children with clefts find their voices,” said Kerstin Diegel, Smile Train’s Development Director for Germany. “Because of their generosity, healthcare in Africa has taken a step forward and generations of children at high risk of social isolation and falling behind in school now have a new opportunity to reach their potential. This is truly a gift that keeps on giving.”

Full group smiles


If you would like to join Storz in helping to support safe cleft surgery around the world, donate today. You can also visit our Corporate Partnerships page to learn how to get more involved.