Supporting Babies with Cleft Lip and/or Palate (China)
The Pigeon Group engages in activities to support babies with cleft lip and/or palate in countries and regions around the world. This article introduces several of the activities that Group company PIGEON (SHANGHAI) CO., LTD. (known as PSH) has conducted for many years to support babies with cleft lip and/or palate.
The Situation for Babies with Cleft Lip and/or Palate
Babies with cleft lip and/or palate are born with issues involving the lips, palate, upper jaw, or similar areas that can make it difficult for them to breastfeed directly or use standard nursing bottles. Depending on the exact nature and severity of their condition, if these babies do not receive treatment they may struggle to feed at all, which can lead to malnutrition or even starvation. They are also at relatively high risk of hearing difficulties due to ear infections, and their condition may affect the development of their jaws or teeth. Surgery can resolve these issues, but arranging treatment for babies and families in low- and medium-income countries can be difficult. Around 1 in every 1,000 to 1,500 babies around the world are born with cleft lip and/or palate, although wide variation is seen between studies and populations,1 and China is home to an estimated 2.4 million children with this condition.2 To support babies with cleft lip and/or palate and their families, PSH collaborates with external organizations on a range of support activities.
1. World Health Organization, “Oral health.” March 14, 2023. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/oral-health
2. Chinese Red Cross Foundation, “Smile Angel Fund (Patients from Impoverished Families with Cleft Lip and/or Palate).” https://new.crcf.org.cn/article/category/xiangmu_name_yanrantianshi
Support via Donation of Products and Funds
One example of this support is PSH’s major annual donations of products to Operation Smile, the Smile Angel Fund, and other organizations and clinics that support babies with cleft lip and/or palate. In 2022, PSH donated a total of around 80,000 RMB (roughly 1.6 million JPY) worth of products for babies with cleft lip and/or palate to Chinese organizations and clinics, and gave a total of around 65,000 USD (roughly 8.7 million JPY) worth of products and donations to recipients overseas, including in the Philippines, Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala. These donations are being used to provide operations for and ensure the healthy development of babies with cleft lip and/or palate.
Support through Activities to Raise Awareness
Along with material support in the form of products and funds, PSH also engages in initiatives to raise awareness through seminars, joint projects, and campaigns. In December 2021, the company began a project with Operation Smile to offer education on breastfeeding and nutrition, offering support to ensure that any baby, no matter what the circumstances of its birth, can develop the strength to grow. PSH also engages in activities to spread the word among everyday consumers about support for babies with cleft lip and/or palate. In December 2022, it held a joint event with bebe jugueton, a chain of baby product stores centered in Guatemala, including a campaign in which products were donated to Operation Smile with every $20 purchase of selected products. In May 2023, PSH held a cycling event in China to raise donations from the general public, and the company is still pursuing new efforts to raise awareness among consumers.
We will continue to stand with babies and their families with activities that offer the support they need.