• Arabian Healthcare Group’s flagship hospital aims to conduct 30 surgeries a year for children in need
  • ‘Smile Train’ has supported 1.5 million cleft surgeries worldwide
  • Globally, a baby is born with a cleft every three minutes

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE – March 16, 2022 – Arabian Healthcare Group’s flagship brand, RAK Hospital, has partnered with Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, to provide free cleft treatment for people affected by cleft lip and/or palate in the UAE and across the Middle East. Globally, one in 700 babies is born with a cleft lip and/or palate, which can cause difficulties in eating, breathing, hearing and speaking. Cleft treatment alleviates many of these difficulties, ultimately enabling them to thrive.

A cleft occurs when certain body parts and structures do not fuse together during fetal development. Clefts can involve the lip and/or the roof of the mouth, which is made up of both hard and soft palate. Around the world, many children with clefts never receive the reconstructive surgery they need. However, this regional program aims to support patients who cannot afford the required surgery.

RAK Hospital is set to conduct about 30 free surgeries a year for children affected by the condition, with the support of Smile Train.   

Sheikh Saqr bin Saud Al Qasimi said: “Cleft lip and palate affect so many children globally but can easily be rectified with simple surgery – this makes it incumbent upon us to take action to help improve the lives of all those with the condition. The initiative between RAK Hospital and Smile Train forms a partnership between two internationally respected institutions and is aligned with Ras Al Khaimah’s strategy of developing a world-class healthcare system to benefit the people of our Emirate and also the many patients who seek to travel here for specialized procedures.”   

Discussing this ground-breaking partnership, Dr. Raza Siddiqui, CEO of Arabian Healthcare Group and Executive Director, RAK Hospital, said: “We are very proud to partner with Smile Train to support their vision of transforming the lives of children with cleft lip and palate. As an institution, RAK Hospital has always remained at the forefront of providing community care by introducing various new initiatives, measures and advanced treatment options.

“With the support of Smile Train, we are looking to conduct about 30 absolutely free surgeries a year for the children affected by the condition. And it is with great pride that I can announce that the first surgery under this noble initiative supported by Smile Train has just been successfully completed on a one year old boy from Abu Dhabi.”

The free cleft reconstructive surgeries will be conducted for patients over the age of three months after a thorough assessment of each individual case. Procedures will include primary cleft lip repair, primary cleft palate repair and a number of other specialized secondary surgical interventions. All the surgeries will be performed in compliance with Smile Train’s Safety and Quality Protocols and will be documented as per their required format.

Smile Train works to empower local medical professionals with the training and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care in their own communities. Unlike other cleft organizations, Smile Train builds capacity by strengthening local health systems. To date, the organization has trained more than 2,100 medical professionals, supported more than 1.5 million cleft surgeries and partnered with over 1,100 partner hospitals.

“We are delighted to launch programs in the UAE in partnership with RAK Hospital, a world-renowned hospital with a commitment to excellence in patient care. We’re ready to work closely with them to ensure that every person in need is able to get the high-quality, timely cleft care they need to thrive,” said Susannah Schaefer, President and CEO, Smile Train.

Globally, a baby is born with a cleft every three minutes. While the needs of every region and medical partner are different, everyone who works at Smile Train shares an unwavering commitment to providing life-saving cleft treatment.



Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train’s sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.org.


Just an hour away from the Dubai International Airport, RAK Hospital caters to a large number of patients that visit the UAE for cost-effective and reliable medical care. Since its inception in 2007, the Hospital has played a pivotal role in strengthening the UAE’s position in the field of medical tourism. RAK Hospital has over 650,000 unique registered patients, more than 75 doctors, and 300 nurses and support staff. The campus includes state-of-the art diagnostic facilities, surgical programs, operation theaters, cardiac labs, a stroke unit, and rehabilitation programs.

With a holistic approach to care, RAK Hospital provides a number of areas of specialization including a fully equipped Neurosurgery and Spine Centre, Orthopedics and Joint Replacement Surgery, Neurosurgical services, services related to Cardiac Surgery and Interventional Cardiology, and Minimal Invasive Surgical procedures. It also has Department of Aesthetic, Plastic and Reconstructive surgery, and a spa offering a wide range of wellness and rejuvenation treatments. For more information, please visit www.rakhospital.com

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