Operation Smile Announces 10-Year Commitment to Transform the Lives of 1 Million Patients Globally

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.

Emiliano Romano

“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.


For media inquiries please contact Tabresha Langham at tabresha.langham@porternovelli.com.

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.

For more information about Operation Smile, please visit: https://www.operationsmile.org/

To Come Full Circle With Operation Smile

“Help the life of one person and you can help the community”

This could not be more evident with the story of Chaimaa Zamoum from Morocco.

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Chaimaa was a former Operation Smile patient who received free surgery for her cleft lip condition. But there are two things that makes her story unique – the doctor who operated on her and what she is doing now.

Her doctor is no other than Dr. Sonny Santos from Operation Smile Philippines (OSP). Dr. Santos is one of the long-standing medical volunteers of OSP. Dr. Sonny has been volunteering not only for local Philippine missions but international missions as well. That’s where he met Chaimaa.

Here is how Chaimaa shared her story:

Operation Smile Morocco cannot be described in one word. That’s what I’ve discovered while my colleagues were shooting a video yesterday.

My name is Chaimaa Zamoum, I’m 23 years old and I’m an ex Operation Smile patient, now volunteer.

I was born with a bilateral cleft lip so, I had about 3 surgeries, 2 of them were right after I was born and I have no memory about. However, I can remember the last one and will be sharing with you some of them. It was at the hospital of Settat on 2006. I was twelve by then so, I can remember pretty much everything. I still remember the atmosphere that was there very clearly, the joy I was feeling, the kids I was playing with, and the toys I was given.

My surgeon back then was Dr. Sonny Santos. I can remember how nice he was with me, not just him but everyone who was there including the OR nurses and the child life.

The image I’ve maintained from Operation Smile, is “Happiness” “friendliness” and mostly “Kindness”, those are the words I thought of while I were asked to describe Operation Smile in one word.

On 2019 my brother, who had a unilateral cleft lip, was also operated by Operation Smile. My dad  immediately recognized Dr. Sonny and so, I met my doctor for the second time in my life. It was a feeling that no words can ever describe especially when I talked to him face to face.

Dr. Sonny insisted on operating my brother as well, which was an overwhelming feeling for my family.

At the same mission my brother was operated in, at El jadida, I met Ms. Nour and asked if I can volunteer with, the operation that’s giving me so many memories, Operation Smile. Since, I have a BA in English studies, I was able to volunteer as a translator, which was my major for my master’s degree, hopefully I’ll graduate by next month once I finish my thesis.

So far, I’ve been part of three missions. My first mission was on October at Agadir, my second was at Tangier on July 2021, and my third one November 2021, sadly, just ended today. I hope I participate in more missions, God willing, because by meeting those kids I remember myself as a kid. Specifically when I was given the chance to get into the OR at the mission of Tengier to see how the Operations work. I would lie if I say I wasn’t gonna burst into tears. I felt proud of myself knowing that I’ve been on the bed of surgery and now I’m being on the other side. It’s a feeling that no words can ever describe.

By joining the Operation Smile family I’ve met several lots of people, now friends, from different backgrounds, who made me feel loved and included and that’s one of the so many things I’m grateful for after joining the family.

Operation Smile means a great deal to me and words can never give it justice.

My family and I will forever be grateful for it. 🙏🏻

This is just one of the stories how Operation Smile provides more than just surgery. As Dr. Sonny puts it, we are happy we are able to effectively change lives of the patients we touched.

AirAsia Philippines, Operation Smile Philippines forge partnership to help children with cleft

Philippines AirAsia is giving free transport to volunteers and patients of Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) to areas served by the leading budget carrier. OSP has been treating Filipino children with cleft lip and cleft palate since 1982, providing them with medical evaluation, dental treatment, reconstructive surgery and speech therapy – all for free. To date, the medical charity has treated more than 30,000 patients from all over the country. Philippines AirAsia serves 14 domestic destinations. The sponsorship agreement was signed recently by Philippines AirAsia president and CEO Ricardo Isla (middle), chief finance officer Raymund Berja (second from left) and OSP executive director Emiliano Romano (second from right). Also in photo are AirAsia Communications and Public Affairs head Steve Dailisan, (left) and OSP development manager Carol Arriola (right).

BRAND LOVE by Ngiti Manileño

Have a business but struggling to get a foothold in the online markets?

Learn best marketing and branding practices from the industry experts this Saturday, November 20, 2021.

Join us in our fundraiser webinar and learn Brand Design, Strategies, and Execution to further boost your brand’s online presence.

Not only will you get to learn from the best but your participation in this event will also help kids with cleft have brighter smiles.
Registration link is indicated down below:
https://bit.ly/3253X0b

Admission Fee:
JCI Member: PHP350
Non-JCI Member: PHP500
When: November 20, 2021 (Saturday)
Time: 2:00-4:00 PM onwards
Attire: Casual

OSP, MEDEQUIP FORGE PARTNERSHIP TO PROMOTE SAFE SURGERY

Medical Equipment Healthcare Group, Inc. (MEDEQUIP), a DTI-PAB Accredited ISO 17020 Inspection Body, recently inked an agreement with Operation Smile Philippines Foundation, Inc. (OSP) to volunteer their engineers and technicians to the latter’s mission sites to ensure the medical devices for oral cleft surgeries are in good working condition. 

OSP has an urgent need for trained biomedical personnel to continuously monitor and calibrate the sensitive surgery equipment throughout the duration of its medical missions, and their proper care after, to ensure the safe conduct of the cleft repair procedures.  

Safe surgery is an advocacy of Operation Smile globally, while patient safety has always been the priority for MEDEQUIP.

MEDEQUIP has been in Healthcare Technology Management since 2005 and has provided its services to private and government facilities throughout the Philippines.

Shown below following the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement are from left: Jose Pepito M. Amores MD, PhD (Chief Technical Officer, MEDEQUIP), Emiliano Romano (Executive Director, Operation Smile Philippines, and Joseph Patrick S. Amores (Chief Executive Officer, MEDEQUIP).

Operation SMILE Philippines Puts the Spotlight on its Volunteers for World Smile Day

Have you ever made someone smile? Do you remember the look they had when they beamed that nice beautiful and warm smile across their faces? Looks awesome, right? But here is the question, how did it make you feel? 

This is a feeling that Operation Smile Philippine’s (OSP) volunteers know all too well! 

OSP volunteers sacrifice their time and skill to make sure that children born with cleft conditions are able to get life-changing surgery in as little as 45 minutes. With the help of generous donors and partners, the volunteers are always at the receiving end of the new smiles they create inside the operating room.

That is the reason why as the world celebrates World Smile Day, no less than Mr. Emiliano Romano, the Executive Director of OSP went around and visited volunteers and turned the tables on them. Mr. Romano went around 7 cities in one day. He visited Valenzuela, Quezon City, Pasig, Marikina, Taguig, Makati, and Manila just to make the volunteers smile.

He hand-delivered gift packs from Fresh Philippines to show appreciation for all the hard work they have done for OSP.

World Smile Day is really a perfect way to spread smiles all around.

Operation Smile’s Oral Health Conference 2021

Our very own Dr. Eric Pius Cembrano represented Operation Smile Philippines at the recently concluded Oral Health Conference in VA, USA last September 16-19, 2021.

The goal of the conference was to bring together key Operation Smile global leadership in Oral Health for productive discussions creating an Operation Smile Framework of Practice for Oral Health Services. This included the standardization ng dental services, treatment procedures, and protocols during Operation Smile mission as well as for centers.

In photo are (l-r):

  1. Dr. Pedro Santiago – OSI Lead Global Advisor- Puerto rRco/ US
  2. Dr. Maria Alejandro Forero- Columbia
  3. Dr. Luiz Pimenta PHD – Professor Columbia University & USI Global Advisor
  4. Dr. Nancy Rojas- Columbia
  5. Dr. Billy Magee Jr. – OSI /US Chief of Research, Innovation and Education
  6. Dr. Carmen Kamas-Wieting – Chair OSI Dental Advisory Council / US
  7. Ann Campbell – OSI/ US
  8. Dr. Sissy Jimenez – US
  9. Dr. Ryan Cody- US
  10. Dr. Maria Belen Andrade – Nicaragua
  11. Dr. Roberto Paz – Bolivia
  12. Anna Copperman – OSI US
  13. Dr. Christian Martinez- Chile
  14. Dr. Eric Pius Cembrano- Philippines 🇵🇭
  15. Dr. Vilma Arteaga- Guatemala
  16. Dr. Manuel Hinostroza – Peru
  17. Dr. Giancarlo Barache- Dominican Republic
    Dr. Teresita Pannaci- Spain (online)
    Midori Hanayama – Speech Pathologist Brazil (online)
    Taylor Ringer – OSI / US (online)

ZALORA Philippines Picks OSP as Community Engagement Partner 

Leading online fashion retailer, ZALORA Philippines has chosen Operation Smile’s comprehensive treatment of children with cleft lip and cleft palate as one of the causes it will support in the Philippines through ZALORA Cares, a donation platform on the web and in various social media.    

Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) joins a select group of only 11 local non-profits that can tap ZALORA Philippines customers to raise funds for their charity work.

Over the past 40 years, OSP has treated more than 30,000 Filipino children and young adults with oral cleft, providing them with free surgery, medical examination, dental treatment, and speech therapy.  

“This is a breakthrough partnership for us,” OSP executive director, Emiliano Romano said, citing the foundation’s new thrust to broaden its donor base by engaging individuals via digital marketing. 

OSP trustee Rizalina Mantaring, past president and CEO Sun Life of Canada Philippines, connected OSP to ZALORA Philippines.  

ZALORA Philippines is the second digital business to tie-up with OSP after PayMaya, a payment gateway. 

“We know there’s a lot of pent-up desire to help among ordinary Filipinos even in these extraordinary times, and our cause is one that is sure to tug at their hearts; it’s just a matter of providing them with the convenient and secure means to do so — and that’s ZALORA Cares,” he added. 

ZALORA Philippines is part of the Singapore-based lifestyle e-retailer, ZALORA group, which has strong presence in Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. 

The group launched its community engagement initiative in 2020 to support Covid-19 efforts in the region.  “We’ve decided to expand beyond the initial mission and start giving back to our community in as much ways as we can by diversifying our pool of foundations,” Ms. Jaurigue said.