Every year, Operation Smile conducts over 150 medical missions, working closely with local or regional volunteers, staff, communities and hospitals to provide the highest quality of surgical cleft care possible. Given the uncertainty around air travel, which affects our international medical missions, we are focused on delivering more locally volunteer-led medical missions in 2021 and beyond. We are fortunate that decades of investing in training local medical volunteers has paid dividends: 85% of Operation Smile’s 6,000+ credentialed medical volunteers are now from the low- and middle-income countries where we work!
In 2021, Operation Smile Canada is supporting 46 medical missions in:
These cost as little as $10,000-$50,000 for locally-led missions and up to $200,000+ for larger-scale international missions where hundreds of surgical procedures are possible. Your consideration of a multi-year investment in our core surgical program will ensure we have the funds for more medical missions in nearly 40 countries around the world.
Your investment provides new smiles to thousands of children like Daniela and Denise all over the world, now and in the years ahead.
Transform More Lives Forever
Upskill More Local Healthcare Providers
Operation Smile recognizes the critical role people play in the accessibility and availability of surgical care in low- and middle-income countries. We train new healthcare providers and advance the necessary technical and soft skills of existing providers to offer high-quality cleft surgery and care, often in low-resource settings.
Our education and training commitment is currently at $85,000 and growing as we continue to receive requests, including a series of surgical and nursing skills training workshops in Colombia and nasoalveolar molding workshops in the Dominican Republic. Nasoalveolar molding reduces the size of the cleft in the lip, gum, nose or palate prior to surgery with the creation of a molded ‘retainer,’ keeping infants alive and healthy until we can safely operate on them.
Your multi-year investment now can enable skill-building workshops like these, as well as educational medical missions and our highly successful specialized training program for cleft surgeons in the transformative years ahead.
Your investment provides world-class training and education to hundreds of local medical professionals in the countries where we work, in 2021 and beyond.
Malnutrition is a significant barrier to receiving surgery for many children in the countries we serve. In response, Operation Smile offers nutrition programs that provide ongoing treatment for patients suffering from nutritional deficiencies, nutrition clinics to parents and the distribution of ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) — an energy-dense, micronutrient-enriched fortified peanut paste carefully formulated to meet a child’s nutritional requirements.
While waiting for surgery is difficult, the graver concern is that infants born with cleft conditions have nine times the risk of dying within the first year of life. With your generous partnership, this work to increase newborn care and nutritional support has saved lives and will save countless more lives, especially in Africa and Latin America.
We have committed $30,000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the centre of one of the world’s longest-running humanitarian crises, where life-threatening chronic malnutrition remains alarmingly prevalent. This funding provides a nutrition program and additional patient-centred support.
Your multi-year investment now can expand life-saving pre-surgical programs like this one to help more patients in more countries become healthy enough to receive surgery.
Many children require multiple surgeries and/or specialized post-surgical care to optimize their health and wellbeing. At our 32 care centres in 16 countries, patients receive free services including cleft and orthognathic surgeries, dentistry, orthodontics, speech therapy, audiology, nutritional counseling and psychosocial care.
The operating costs of our year-round care centres range from $50,000 to $500,000. Canada is committed to funding 10 of these powerhouses of healing, including “The Little House” in Bogotá, Colombia, the oldest and busiest of Operation Smile’s centres (which last year alone provided 500+ surgeries, 3,700+ dental procedures and 23,000+ patient consultations), as well as our care centres in:
- Santa Cruz, Bolivia
- Duitama, Colombia
- Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
- Quito, Ecuador
- Guatemala City, Guatemala
- Tegucigalpa, Honduras
- Guadalajara, Mexico
- Managua, Nicaragua
- Asuncion, Paraguay
Your multi-year investment in care centres now can provide vital surgical care and training for more local medical professionals, as well as create points of access into the healthcare system for tens of thousands of children and their families annually.
Operation Smile conducts research into the genetic and environmental causes of cleft, research that will move our work far beyond the immediate treatment of cleft conditions toward cleft prevention initiatives. Research at this level, with many thousands of research subjects, is critical, but also costly.
Operation Smile Canada is committing an initial investment of $350,000 this year to fund a Canadian-led global research initiative investigating speech optimization in patients with cleft palates. We are seeking partners for a multi-year investment in research that will enable us to continue leading the global effort to discover the primary causes of cleft, along with innovative and alternate treatments.
Your investment makes the impossible possible, now and for years to come, like groundbreaking research into the causes and treatment of cleft, and visionary programs with the potential to make essential surgery available to billions who lack it worldwide.