Whether travelling from surrounding villages or distant islands, families in the Philippines seeking cleft surgeries for their children must sacrifice precious time and resources to reach Operation Smile medical programme sites.
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Loraine and her family. Photo: Jörgen Hildebrandt.
Joseph walks in his flip-flops behind his father and stepmother through their neighborhood in San Remigio on the Philippine island of Cebu.
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Joseph runs in an open filed, before cleft surgery. Photo Jörgen Hildebrandt
The International Family Study is pioneering research into the causes of cleft working in partnership with the University of Southern California.
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Loraine born with cleft lip in the Philippines

Programme updates

Find out how our surgical programmes are strengthening local health systems and training the next generation of medical leaders.

Training anaesthetists in Rwanda

Anaesthesia is vital to the delivery of safe surgery, but there is a dramatic shortage of trained anaesthetists in Rwanda. In this densely popualated country, 11.9 million people are served by just 15 anaesthetists and anaesthesiologists.

Dr Paulin Banguti is working to fill this void – he’s director of the post-graduate anaesthesia programme at the University of Rwanda. During the March 2016 Operation Smile surgical training rotation at Rwinkwavu District Hospital, he led a group of anaesthesia residents to observe and learn from volunteer anaesthesiologists from around the world.

Medical staff prepare a patient for anaesthesia

Strengthening health systems in Malawi

To enable Operation Smile to serve and treat more people living with cleft conditions, we focus on increasing the surgical capacity of low-and middle-income countries like Malawi so that cleft care for local people can continue, even after a surgical programme ends.

Operation Smile Malawi has worked to encourage and educate local surgeons, doctors and nurses, and now has nearly 50 percent of its medical volunteers from Malawi. Surgical training rotations train and empower local surgeons to help their own communities and strengthen health systems for the future.

Cleft Surgeon Tilinde Chokotho with cleft patient