With your help, we build local capacity to provide surgery and comprehensive cleft care for thousands of children each year. We know that people in low-resource environments can revolutionise the delivery of care and create solutions to the problems their people face. All they need are the resources and the trainings to make it happen.
We currently provide world-class cleft care in more than 30 countries supported by more than 6,000 volunteers from 60 countries.
International and Local Medical Programmes
Each year, we conduct more than 100 medical programmes, and every one of them is unique. In some places where we work, we supply medical equipment, and in others, we deploy specialised medical volunteers. Regardless of the location, we work with the local community to create solutions that deliver the highest quality of care possible.
Over the years, we’ve perfected the medical programme model. On an international programme, medical and non-medical volunteers from around the world come together and work seamlessly to deliver exceptional care to our patients. During local programmes, the same quality of care is provided, but it is delivered by local health care professionals.
It’s an important milestone when a foundation builds the capacity to host a programme on its own. Learn more about how Operation Smile Malawi is working to reach this milestone.
Year-Round Centers of Care
Our patients’ need for care doesn’t stop when a medical programme ends. That’s why we’ve established 31 centres in 16 countries that provide year-round solutions for those who require more complex treatment than a single mission can provide. At these centres, patients receive free services including dentistry, orthodontics, speech therapy, nutritional counselling, psychosocial care, and cleft and orthognathic surgeries from our dedicated staff and volunteers.
Our long-term goal is to establish year-round centres in every country where we work.
The Comprehensive Care We Provide
DENTISTRY: Dentists provide specialized procedures and create devices that improve patients’ surgical results and overall health.
SURGERY: Timely cleft surgery is essential to a patient’s long-term health and well-being.
SPEECH: Speech therapists help patients speak more clearly and teach parents feeding techniques for their babies.
NUTRITION: A cleft condition can cause malnourishment. Our nutritional support helps patients grow healthy for surgery.
ORTHODONTICS: Orthodontic care is also crucial to a patients’ healthy oral development and personal confidence.
PSYCHOSOCIAL CARE: Certified psychosocial care providers help patients and families throughout the course of their treatment.
Training and Education Programs
We’re proud that nearly 85% of our medical volunteers are health care professionals from the low- and middle-income countries we serve. A majority of them have received training and education from us. We’re investing in strengthening health systems and partnering with universities, international and local organisations and governments with one mission in mind: delivering safe surgery to people where it’s needed most.
Rwanda faces dire challenges when it comes to the number and skill of its health care professionals: Only two reconstructive plastic surgeons and 18 anaesthetists serve the country of nearly 12 million people.
Globally, the need for surgical care extends far beyond cleft conditions. The lack of adequately trained surgical teams forces people to wait years for treatment. We want to alleviate this suffering in Rwanda, and in every country where we work, by empowering local health care workers through training and education.