A Sustainable and Scalable Approach to the Provision of Cleft Care: A Focus on Safety and Quality

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Background:A global health model based on partnering with local hospitals and surgical teams, providing education and training for local providers, and mandating adherence to safety and quality standards to ensure safe surgery and anesthesia care can build local surgical capacity and strengthen existing health care systems in low- and middle-income countries. Smile Train uses this sustainable partnership model to provide responsible humanitarian aid while maintaining a bidirectional exchange with its international partners.Methods:A voluntary online survey is administered annually to Smile Train’s global partners. One portion of this survey focuses on how Smile Train can best support providers’ adherence to the Smile Train Safety and Quality Protocol and Anesthesia Guidelines for cleft care.Results:In 2014 and 2015, 1132 health care providers responded to Smile Train’s annual partner survey (77 percent response rate). When asked how Smile Train could best support partners to continually meet the safety and quality standards, most partners reported that they could benefit from additional financial support (59.6 percent) and medical professional education and training opportunities (59.2 percent).Conclusions:The results from the partner survey yield important insights into the programmatic needs of Smile Train partners. Smile Train uses this information to efficiently allocate and distribute resources and to strategically plan and implement training opportunities where needed. The partner survey helps to ensure that Smile Train patients around the world consistently receive safe and high-quality cleft surgery and anesthesia care.

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