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Smile Train expands cleft care services in Phl

Every day, more than 540 babies are born with a cleft around the world, an ongoing reality that calls for comprehensive solutions to help them overcome challenges and live a happy, healthy life.

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Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft organization, announced today the establishment of four Comprehensive Cleft Care (CCC) centers across the Philippines to increase accessibility of treatment to cleft-affected individuals and their families.

Every day, more than 540 babies are born with a cleft around the world, an ongoing reality that calls for comprehensive solutions to help them overcome challenges and live a happy, healthy life. 

For the past two decades, Smile Train has supported more than 64,000 cleft surgeries through its 50+ partner hospitals and organizations throughout Philippines. As the organization marks its 20th anniversary in the country, it is further expanding its services to include nutrition support, orthodontic and dental treatment, and speech therapy in more locations across Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. 

“Smile Train’s goal is to provide those born with a cleft the necessary holistic care beyond their initial surgeries. We will continue to build a network that will bring comprehensive cleft care to Filipinos, so they have the support and the tools they need to overcome any challenge. Through this network and these comprehensive cleft centers, we aim to ultimately provide them the ability to work, play, and live happy, healthy and productive lives,” said Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Smile Train’s Vice-President for South East Asia. 

Smile Train’s geographical and programmatic expansion comes as the organization celebrates National Cleft and Craniofacial awareness month this July. Smile Train has launched comprehensive cleft centers at partner hospitals including the Philippine Band of Mercy and Marikina St. Vincent General Hospital in Metro Manila, San Fernandino Hospital in Pampanga, and Mabuhay Deseret Foundation in ARC Hospital in Cebu. At these centers, in addition to surgeries, parents and patients in need can access nutrition counselling and nutrition services, orthodontic treatment, and speech therapy sessions at no cost.   

These institutions have served as Smile Train’s partners for years, helping patients from across different provinces and performing thousands of cleft surgeries with the assistance of Smile Train, and will be continuing to do so in an increased capacity as CCC centers. Philippine Band of Mercy has performed 25,300 Smile Train-funded cleft surgeries since 2002; Marikina St. Vincent has performed 1,900+ cleft surgeries since 2011; San Fernando Hospital has done over 1,000 cleft surgeries since 2011; and Mabuhay Deseret Foundation has performed 1,500+ cleft surgeries since 2008. Additional partner hospitals will be able to provide CCC in the coming months.  

More on Comprehensive Cleft Care (CCC)

Comprehensive cleft care complements cleft surgery, which Smile Train has been providing at no cost to families in need for over 20 years in the Philippines. Cleft treatment is not a one-off process or even just a series of surgeries, but often requires a holistic approach including nutritional support, dental and orthodontic care, psychosocial support, and speech therapy. CCC is provided by an interdisciplinary, supportive team of highly trained professionals that typically includes geneticists, nutritionists, surgeons, nurses, speech therapists, ENTs, audiologists, mental health counselors, dentists, and orthodontists, among others. For Smile Train and its medical partners, CCC means that each person with cleft has access to all the care they need in order to thrive.

The expansion of Smile Train’s CCC footprint also supports its efforts to promote a working telehealth network, which will allow patients to access CCC despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and geography.

In the Philippines, the pandemic has not gotten in the way of Smile Train’s efforts to help cleft patients, providing over 1,800+ surgeries (pandemic-related) done in 2020, and 1,120 in the first 6 months of 2021 with 26 partners actively doing surgeries.

Since the start of the pandemic, Smile Train’s speech telehealth program in the Philippines has treated over 200 patients, providing them with more than 1,000 cleft care-related sessions. Recently, the organization launched the country’s first Filipino speech therapy mobile application which serves as a platform for more patients and families born with cleft to continue to receive comprehensive cleft care with minimal disruptions.

For more information about Smile Train’s global efforts and to donate, please visit smiletrain.org. To learn more about Smile Train’s local programs in the Philippines, please visit smiletrain.ph, follow Smile Train Philippines on Twitter and Instagram @SmileTrainPh, and like us on Facebook at @SmileTrainPhilippines. The Smile Train Philippines mobile application can be downloaded via Google Play and App Store.

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Watsons Philippines unveils its 1,000th store in Manila

Spanning almost 1,000 square meters, the new flagship store is located in The Block, SM City North Edsa Block in Manila. As the biggest store in the country, it showcases the most comprehensive array of health and beauty products in an engaging way that will take the shopping experience to the next level.

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As Asia’s No.1 health and beauty retailer, Watsons is celebrating an important milestone today as it opens its 1,000th store in Philippines, adding to a total of 8,000 Watsons stores across 15 markets in Asia and Eastern Europe. The new store opening coincides with Watsons’ 20th anniversary in the Philippines, one of its fastest-growing markets.

Spanning almost 1,000 square meters, the new flagship store is located in The Block, SM City North Edsa Block in Manila. As the biggest store in the country, it showcases the most comprehensive array of health and beauty products in an engaging way that will take the shopping experience to the next level.

Dominic Lai, Group Managing Director of A.S. Watson Group, officiates at the store opening event and says, “This new flagship store is important in the nation-wide expansion in this beautiful country as it’s a clear demonstration of Watsons’ determination to strengthen our connection with customers via seamless O+O platforms. O+O platform strategy is at the core of our business to create an integrated experience, to better serve customers anytime, anywhere.”

“Besides celebrating the 1,000th store opening, today marks Watsons’ 20 years of commitment to serving our customers in the Philippines. Over the years, we’ve been working to deliver our purpose to help customers Look Good, Do Good, Feel Great.”

A New Standard for O+O Retail

To respond to the customers’ needs, Watsons’ new flagship store is not only designed to offer a modern and stylish shopping environment, but also create an immersive and interactive O+O experience for its customers. 

Leveraging on an extensive store network in Philippines, Online Express delivery service is available so that customers can have their products delivered to doorsteps in 3 hours or choose to pick up orders at store within 30 mins via Click & Collect Express.

This new Watsons store is a model for the future of beauty shopping with special discovery areas. There’s a Skinfie Lab, a skin analysis tool that creates personalized skincare recommendations based on selfies. The tool, which is also housed in the Watsons app, is able to detect a range of facial attributes from a customer’s selfie, including acne, fine lines, pigmentation and overall skin condition. Meanwhile, makeup lovers can use #ColourMe Virtual Makeup try-on, to experience hundreds of lipsticks, mascara, eyeshadow, brow products, and foundation.

Expanding Digital Health Services

To help customers Look Good, Do Good, Feel Great, Watsons has its first state-of-the-art clinic powered by The Medical City that features virtual consultation and remote physical examination. Vaccination services for flu, HPV, and pneumonia will be available at the clinic soon.

Watsons Supplement Finder is also available to support the pharmacy service and help  customers get personalized recommendations on the best vitamins and supplements for them.

Teresita Sy-Coson, Co Chairman of SM Investments, congratulates Watsons on the double celebrations, “Our long-term partnership with Watsons has realised our promise of bringing the best-in-class health & beauty products to all Filipinos. It’s our pleasure to celebrate this remarkable milestone with Watsons and we will continue to work closely to raise the standard in health & beauty in the Philippines through Watsons’ seamless O+O platforms.”

1,000 Ways of Doing Good

Mr. Lai concludes, “Looking ahead, we’re committed to continuing our expansion in the Philippines, as well as the rest of the world. Besides bringing pleasurable O+O shopping experience to our customers, we want to engage our customers to do good to the community and the planet with us through our sustainability programmes.”

To inspire its customers to live a sustainable lifestyle, Watsons offers over 1,500 Sustainable Choices products under Clean beauty, refill packs, better packaging and better ingredients for customers so that they can contribute to create a better world. Watsons has also mobilised its customers to create a bigger impact with community programmes such as sponsorship of free corrective surgeries for cleft children under Give-a-Smile is targeted to empower 3,300 families in the Philippines by 2030, and the Alagang Pangkalusugan community medical outreach programme will likewise be supporting 20,000 people with free medicines in the coming years.

The celebration activities will continue throughout the year as Watsons show appreciation to customers, partners and colleagues through the #WeLoveYou1000Ways campaign. There will be member-exclusive benefits and special offers, both offline and online to show the brand’s appreciation to loyal customers of Watsons Club.

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The 2023 You: Touching on the dimensions of wellness, self-care, and self-improvement

Apart from practicing mindfulness, taking time to read can also be beneficial. Reading has been linked to improved mental health, as well as improved concentration and memory. Reading can also help us learn new skills, broaden our horizons, and gain a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

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As we welcome new beginnings this 2023, it’s important to take time for self-care and self-improvement. It’s easy to get caught up in our day-to-day lives and forget to focus on taking care of ourselves. Wellness takes on a new meaning in the modern day, especially with so many issues bombarding us. But with a few simple steps, we can prioritize self-care and self-improvement and start the new year off with a renewed sense of wellness.

Wellness isn’t simply being physically healthy, but it also focuses more on the holistically well-being of a person. Such a holistic approach to life has different dimensions that looks into the physical, spiritual, environmental, emotional, intellectual, and social aspects of a person’s life. While wellness is all encompassing, a common denominator that helps achieve all these dimensions is mindfulness.

One way to start self-care and self-improvement is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment and being aware of our thoughts and feelings. This can include activities such as yoga, meditation, and journaling. By taking a few minutes each day to focus on our thoughts and feelings, we can create a sense of peace and calm and increase our self-awareness.

Apart from practicing mindfulness, taking time to read can also be beneficial. Reading has been linked to improved mental health, as well as improved concentration and memory. Reading can also help us learn new skills, broaden our horizons, and gain a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

Bookshelf PH, a digital publishing house, produces a great range of books that can help us on our journey to wellness and self-improvement. In partnership with Blankscape Media, a full-on content and marketing agency, they help Filipino authors produce content that touches on all dimensions of wellness through sharing their experiences on how to achieve a fulfilling life.

For those looking to learn more about themselves and their inner strengths, Chairmom, Lost You Found Me, and Fearless Filipinas 2 explore how career and relationships impact self-improvement. Chairmom focuses on how to be a successful and effective leader and balance work with personal life at home, while Lost You Found Me and Fearless Filipinas 2 explore personal stories of resilience and courage. All three books provide valuable lessons and advice, helping us to understand and appreciate our own potential.

Meanwhile, Sharing My Light and Healing Energy, Faith and Grace Everyday and God’s Business Mandate provides guidance in achieving spiritual wellness. These books all focus on finding inner strength and faith, and searching for meaning and purpose in our daily existence. Through these books, we can gain a better understanding of our own spiritual journey and how to navigate our lives with faith and grace. No matter what our goals for 2023, we can all benefit from taking time to reflect on our personal values and missions.

“With all these new year challenges ahead of us, wellness has never been this crucial to integrate in our day-to-day lives,” Monette Quiogue, Managing Partner at Bookshelf PH and Blankscape Media said. “It’s time for us to prioritize having a holistic, fulfilling way of living amidst the hustle and bustle we need to navigate everyday. Take a step back, even if it’s just 10 minutes, to read, laugh, and reflect on the past year and embrace what this year has in store for us.”

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Fight against smoking continues with Nicorette

Over the years, the Philippine government in partnership with private organizations have been working together to reduce tobacco use through awareness and education programs.

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According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, twenty eight percent (28%) or 17.3 million Filipinos are smokers. Today, the Philippines still has one of the highest per capita levels of tobacco consumption among the ASEAN countries, and this poses a major public health problem in the country.

Over the years, the Philippine government in partnership with private organizations have been working together to reduce tobacco use through awareness and education programs.

Ending the Habit

At Johnson & Johnson Philippines, we walk the talk when it comes to enforcing good, healthy habits, in order to quit smoking. Through a series of posters strategically displayed around the J&J Philippines campus, employees are reminded how Nicorette can help them break free from smoking. Nicorette is Nicotine Polacrilex, a type of nicotine replacement therapy that can help quitters reduce their cravings in as fast as 15 minutes. Quit smoking for a week with the help of Nicorette and be 9x more likely to quit for good.

“As part of our J&J credo, it is our responsibility to give our employees a healthier and safer environment in the office and at home. This is just one of our initiatives in making sure we help put a stop to smoking. Our work does not just start and end with promoting Nicorette to our consumers, but we would also like our employees to be reminded of the threats of smoking”, says Patricia Rodriguez, brand manager for self-care, Johnson & Johnson Philippines.

Quit Smoking with Nicorette

Apart from activities within the Johnson & Johnson Philippines campus, we are also making strides in advancing our goal in reducing tobacco usage in the country. Last year, in celebration of World No Tobacco Day, Johnson & Johnson Philippines introduced Nicorette to encourage more Filipino smokers to #JoinTheQuitters. Nicorette held an online event anchored on the World Health Organization’s campaign “Commit to Quit” to motivate Filipinos to permanently quit for good.  The event was streamed through Facebook live and was attended by over 700 people nationwide. Some participants were “quitters” who shared their quitting journeys and smokers who pledged to a healthier lifestyle.

  • Since then, Nicorette has worked non-stop in advocating to end smoking in the Philippines. We continued to raise awareness of the difficulties in quitting smoking with the help of our ‘quit ambassadors’. This year, in commemoration of No Smoking Month, Nicorette invited the media to participate in a roundtable discussion on the hazards of smoking. The event was attended by John Matthew Uy, a Nicorette user and successful quitter, and pulmonologist Dr. Leni Fernandez ho enlightened guests about the threats of smoking.  Apart from that, we also sought the help of “quitters” to share their quitting journey online. Our ambassadors talked about the challenges of quitting, the importance of having a strong support system in their journey and having an effective and trusted product like Nicorette that can help them through withdrawals and in stopping their cravings.

The Answer to Quit Smoking for Good

There is no excuse in being unable to quit smoking now that Nicorette is available in leading supermarkets and drugstores nationwide. Nicorette is available in your nearest drugstores like Mercury Drug, Watsons, Southstar Drug, and more, and is also available on both Shopee and Lazada for your convenience.

​​For more information about Nicorette, visit www.nicorette.com.ph or  follow our social media accounts at www.facebook.com/NicorettePH/ and @nicoretteph on Instagram. Get special deals and promos to finally break that habit by purchasing Nicorette on official Johnson & Johnson Philippines accounts, both on Shopee and Lazada.

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