Deliberations on how to transform children’s lives are always met with heartwarming eagerness, but rarely are they executed with precision and haste.
The goal? A Cleft-Free Manila City with the support of Operation Smile Canada.
Operation Smile Philippines, the City Mayor of Manila, and Sta. Ana Hospital agreed a year ago on a project that will double down on transforming the lives of cleft patients by creating a Manila Cleft Care Center “MCCC.”
By renovating the 8th-floor surgical wing, we will ultimately double the capacity at which we can screen and conduct surgeries.
Today marks a milestone for Operation Smile Philippines as we had a ribbon-cutting day for the newly renovated Sta. Ana Hospital Ambulatory Surgical Clinic x Operation Smile brings us within striking range of the goal.
program aims to highlight women’s critical role in health care in the Philippines and globally
Operation Smile is launching its Women in Medicine program in the Asia region with an all-female international surgical and educational mission in Cebu City, from October 10 to 15, 2022, aimed at putting the spotlight on the critical role women play in the global health care system, and to encourage them to take on leadership roles in their professions.
“Women in Medicine” is central to our 10-year goal of increasing access to quality care for one million patients around the world, and to help build global health infrastructure,” said Operation Smile co-founder and president, Kathleen Magee, who is flying to the Philippines to lead the launch
The program seeks to educate women in resource-poor countries on advanced medical practices, empower them become leaders in global medicine, expand opportunities for female health care workers in underserved communities, and elevate the quality of cleft care, Magee said.
“There are 5 million patients in need of cleft care in the countries we work in, and 5 billion people who lacks access to safe surgery across the world; we can’t address this need without more women in the health care arena,” Magee said.
The Cebu launch will kick off with a one-day forum on women empowerment in the medical field for all the participants, followed by four days of free surgeries and care for 80 children with cleft lip and cleft palate at the Cebu City Medical Center.
In partnership with its in-country foundation, Operation Smile Philippines, longtime NGO ally in Cebu, the MSY Charitable Foundation, and the Cebu City Government, Operation Smile assembled a team of 60 volunteer cleft care professionals from 12 countries.
The multinational team comprises of plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, dentists, speech therapists, child life specialists and biomedical technicians from the U.S., Vietnam, Australia, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, Sweden, UK, Egypt, South Africa, and the Philippines.
Filipino plastic surgeon, Dr. Lora Mae De Guzman, and anesthesiologist, Dr. Rosario Loraine Moscare will lead the medical team. Both are long-time Operation Smile volunteers.
“Our ultimate goal is to inspire and enable women to take on leadership roles in the medical field so they can help shape policies that would attract more women into the fold and equip them with global-standard skills to widen access to safe surgery and quality cleft care,” Magee said.
“By empowering women in medicine at the local and regional level, we are creating a transformative change that will ripple across the health care landscape,” she added.
Women comprise 70% of health professional across the world, said the World Health Organization (WHO).
The figure is even higher In the Philippines. Women account for 75% of the country’s nearly 500,000 health professionals, said the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) in a 2018 survey.
Still, despite the seeming large number, the Philippines lacks 290,000 health care workers to meet the WHO-recommended ratio of 44.5 health workers for every 10,000 of the population, the Human Resources for Health Network (HRHN) estimated in a 2019 study.
HRHN, the multi-sectoral agency the Department of Health created to align public health policies and implementation, said less than 1% of employed Filipinos are working as health professionals,
Operation Smile Philippines’ executive director, Emiliano Romano, said the novel Women in Medicine initiative is being piloted in the Philippines, where Operation Smile started in 1982, as well as in Morocco, Malawi, and Peru.
The plan is to roll out the program in all 35 Operation Smile program countries, Romano added.
Marking its 40th Anniversary Year, Global Non-Profit Scales Up Commitments to Transform Local Health Systems, Address the Most Critical Needs in Global Cleft Care
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Jan. 19, 2022 — Global nonprofit Operation Smile announced a 10-year commitment today to increase access to care for 1 million patients who need cleft care and other essential surgeries. Entering its 40th anniversary year, the organization will scale up its investments in underserved remote areas around the world.
The announcement marks an evolution for Operation Smile, which will continue to work as the leading global nonprofit specializing in expert cleft surgery and care and will focus more intensely on transforming local health systems. The organization’s new vision includes creating expanded opportunities for women in medicine, investing significantly in research, innovation, surgical education, and youth empowerment, all of which are factors that impact cleft care.
“As we enter our organization’s next decade, we are deeply focused on increasing the number of high-quality cleft surgeries, which requires strengthening local health systems,” said Operation Smile Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Bill Magee. “We’re committing today, to transforming lives by challenging inequities in the health system head-on to serve a million people who need care.”
Founded in 1982, Operation Smile has provided free, life-changing surgical and dental care for more than 326,000 patients, enabling them to eat, breathe, speak, and live healthier lives. With each surgery, the organization has seen how gaps in health care infrastructure create barriers to access and perpetuate inequities in health care systems.
“Our experience has shown us that long-term investments in health care infrastructure and partnerships with local medical leaders are critical to serve children with cleft conditions, and that our work and presence in a country provides greater access to high-quality care,” said Kathy Magee, Co-Founder and President of Operation Smile. “Our focus will always be on cleft care, but we are also empowering our world-class medical teams fueled by 6,000 global volunteers to provide comprehensive care for patients autonomously.”
Over the next 10 years, Operation Smile will collaborate with local partners, including ministries of health, donors, corporations and academic institutions to bolster in-country health systems to reach its goal of increasing access to care for 1 million patients.
Initial investments as part of the organization’s next decade of commitments include:
$8 million investment in Guatemala over five years, which will support five hospitals across the country to provide cleft surgery for 1,200 patients and comprehensive care for 3,400 patients
$10 million investment over five years to support a network of hospitals and care providers across seven geographic areas in Mexico, which will provide care for 4,500 patients
$9 million investment over five years to support patient care in Colombia, including in Riohacha Hospital, a public hospital located at the border with Venezuela where indigenous communities and migrants receive care
$6 million investment over five years to support the CHUK Hospital hub in Rwanda and outlying locations, including surgeon and clinical support, patient nutrition, dentistry and more
To ensure the long-term success of these investments, Operation Smile is partnering with local stakeholders to revolutionize how health systems deliver surgical care in underserved areas around the world.
“Philippines has been one of the major hubs of Operation Smile and was actually founded here. So this milestone is especially important to us. It’s a great time to rededicate ourselves to our commitment to provide access to high-quality and holistic care to Filipino children and their communities. So we can continue the legacy of 40 years of learning and success,” said Emiliano Romano, Executive Director of Operation Smile Philippines.
Operation Smile is a global nonprofit specializing in expert cleft surgery and care. We provide medical expertise, research and care through our dedicated staff and medical and student volunteers around the world, working alongside local governments, nonprofits, and health systems, and supported by our generous donors.