Miss World 2015 Mireia Lalaguna will have a four-day visit to Kenya from 30th May- 3rd June.
Her itinerary entails visiting patients who have been treated for Cleft lip and Palate under the Beauty with a Purpose banner.
She will also be rewarding Ms World Kenya 2014 Idah Nguma with Ksh 10 Million for winning in the Beauty with a Purpose category of the pageant. Her visit in 2015 was stalled by insecurity concerns following the terrorist attack at Garissa University.
While making the announcement, Miss World Kenya Franchise holder Mrs. Terry Mungai noted that they have partnered with Smile Train International to restore smiles on patients with cleft lip and palate. The organisation offers free treatment for the patients, in partnership with local hospitals.
“Cleft lip and palate has stigmatized innocent children and parents, and as Miss World Kenya, we shall continue rallying people to access the treatment. Miss Nguma’s efforts did Kenya proud in the 2014 Beauty with a Purpose category, and it is for this purpose that Miss World 2015 will visit the country beyond touring our lovely country,” noted Ms. Mungai.
Reigning Miss World Kenya Roshanara Ebrahim committed to carrying on the mantle of Smile Train by sensitizing more families to take up the treatment.
“It is sad that infants continue to die, yet treatment is free, simply because they didn’t know it exists. We shall continue to support Smile train and I am happy to be on board,” said Ms. Ebrahim.
The Miss World franchise has leveraged the county beauty queens to drive the messaging of free treatment for the deformity.
The centres that offer treatment include Gertrudes Childrens Hospital, Metropolitan Hospitals, Nairobi South Hospital Bomu Hospital in Mombasa, Nyeri County Referral Hospital, Embu County Referral Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referrah Hospital, AIC CURE International Hospital, IcFEM Dreamland Hospital in Kimilili, Jordan Hospital in Kitui, Help a Child Face Tomorrow, AIC Kapsowar Hospital, Evans Sunrisee Medical Centre in Nakuru, Bethany Kids at Kijabe Hospital.
On her part, Smile Train Regional Director-Africa Dr. Esther Njoroge acknowledged that the lack of awareness on the availability of treatment has contributed to stigma against patients. She also commended Miss World franchise for their continued support in raising awareness, and praised Miss World Kenya 2014 Idah Nguma for championing the cause, and in turn winning in the Beauty with a Purpose category.
“More often than not, the condition occurs among low income earners, who assume that the corrective surgery is expensive. The adverse effects are that the patients are unable to feed properly, leading to malnutrition and in some cases, death. Miss World pageant has been supportive over the years in raising awareness, and Miss Nguma played a commendable role in encouraging the public to access,” said Dr. Njoroge.
Smile Train has been in Kenya since 2012, with active programs since 2008.
The organisation has treated close to 7,000 patients in Kenya both children and adults. Cleft lip and palate is estimated to occur in 1 in 1000 births, in absolute figures this is approximately 1,300 cleft lip and palate births every year in Kenya.