Although the COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily paused our cleft care outreach programs in Ecuador, we continue to provide cleft care through Telehealth programs. Our staff and volunteers around the world are working with Fundaciòn Global Smile Ecuador to continue to provide cleft care though Telehealth programs. Using online tools, our volunteer teams can follow-up with patients, continue speech therapy and psychosocial care, and assess overall health and nutrition.
In addition, Dr. Lizbeth Roman and Speech Pathologist Karina Mayorga have been providing resources via video to our patients and families. Videos are posted to Instagram for @globalsmile_ecuador and include speech therapy activities, tips on staying safe during the pandemic, and ideas for things to do while staying at home.
In June, Fundaciòn Global Smile Ecuador also launched a new online program for parents of infants born with clefts to receive feeding guidance & assistance for their babies. Infants born with cleft often have trouble feeding properly and are at a higher risk of malnutrition and failure to thrive. This new online program not only provides feeding education and resources, but helps parents understand how GSF can help their babies through comprehensive cleft care.
Our next scheduled mission to Guayaquil is March 2-15, 2021. We are hopeful that this mission will be possible because there is a long list of patients waiting for the GSF team. With three annual missions and our Cleft Center at Hospital Leòn Becerra operating year-round, we have become the largest provider of cleft care in Ecuador.
We will continue to monitor the current situation and have increased our safety efforts in response to COVID-19. More updates will be available soon.