During the 2014 Ebola Crisis, Dr. Jerry Brown resiliently shaped the landscape of healthcare in Liberia, landing him on the cover of @Time Magazine and featuring him in their #PersonOfTheYear article. Now, with the help of Smile Train, he plans to do the same for cleft surgery. Read more below:
In March of 2014, an Ebola epidemic hit Liberia, panic ensued and an unshakeable fear of the virus took hold of healthcare providers, who abandoned their jobs, leaving very few to manage the situation. Fortunately for the people of Liberia, Dr. Brown fought aggressively with all of his power, to help patients survive Ebola.
During the crisis, Dr. Brown and his colleagues saw that another group, children born with clefts, were being left behind due to a lack of local specialists. In years past, cleft lip and palate treatments were conducted primarily by international mission organizations, who were unwilling to risk Ebola infections and stopped coming to the country altogether. Dr. Brown was a skilled surgeon, but he lacked the training to perform cleft surgeries himself, so he reached out to Smile Train and formed a partnership.
The partnership started with Liberia Cleft Week — experienced Smile Train surgeons from partner hospitals in West Africa worked with medical professionals in Liberia to train them in comprehensive cleft care. As expected, many of the children treated during the week had waited years for their cleft surgery.
Dr. Brown is elated that he will now be able to provide new smiles and new lives to children in Liberia. “Once the children have this surgery, there is a dramatic change in their lives,” he says.
Children in developing countries with untreated clefts are unfortunately all-too-familiar with being bullied. That’s why, we’re asking you to join our #CelebrateOurDifferences initiative in support of Bullying Prevention Month. By doing so, you’ll show that, while everyone is different, we’re also unified, accepting, and supportive of one another. To learn more visit smiletrain.org/different.