In India, it is estimated that more than 35,000 children are born with clefts.
Championing the cause of treating cleft for children in need, Himalaya Lip Care launched its campaign 'Ek Mutho Hanshi' in Kolkata in collaboration with Smile Train, the world's largest cleft charity, to provide free life-saving cleft surgeries to children.
The campaign is focused at spreading the joy of smiles. Noted singer Usha Uthup heightened the spirit of the launch at the event by extending her support to the initiative.
"This year, with our campaign 'Ek Mutho Hanshi', we are committed to raising awareness in West Bengal about cleft and the importance of early intervention to help children with clefts lead a happy and fulfilling life," said Rajesh Krishnamurthy, Business Director-Consumer Products Division, The Himalaya Drug Company.
"Our Muskaan initiative truly reflects Himalaya's brand vision -- 'Khush Raho Khushaal Raho' -- to bring wellness and happiness in every home. Through this initiative, more than 550 children have received cleft surgery till date," Krishnamurthy said.
The incidence of cleft is related to the density of population, and West Bengal alone sees about 2,500 births with cleft defects annually.
Children with untreated clefts not only live in isolation, but more importantly, face physical difficulties while eating, breathing and speaking, and are prone to frequent ear infections.
Less than 50 per cent of children with clefts do not get treatment due to ignorance and poverty in India, the company said in a statement.
"This initiative is very close to our hearts. We are dedicated and passionate about spreading happiness and wellness, not only through our products but also by supporting causes that change the lives of people. Muskaan focuses on creating awareness and providing access to free treatment," said Philipe Haydon, CEO, The Himalaya Drug Company.