Team of 244 Medical Volunteers Conduct Largest Single Site Medical Mission in the 28-Year History of Operation Smile
Operation Smile, a worldwide children’s medical charity, and Operation Smile India, brought together a team of 244 medical volunteers from 19 countries to carry out a milestone medical mission in Guwahati, India, that provided 1,871 free medical evaluations and 967 facial reconstructive surgeries for children and young adults suffering from cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities.
During a twenty-day period, from January 30 to February 18, 2010, two teams of local and international volunteers, including medical professionals, students, and members of the local community, worked side-by-side to bring new smiles to the largest number of patients ever treated during a single Operation Smile medical mission. This milestone achievement followed a previous 18-day medical mission, held in December, 2009 in Guwahati, where 509 children born with facial deformities were given new smiles.
"Bill and I are continually inspired by the dedication and commitment of our volunteers. We will forever remember the honest care and compassion that they delivered to the thousands of patients that were seen over these weeks. We returned home from Guwahati humbled by this experience and further pledge our continued support for the children of Assam. With the help of Mr. Ratan Tata and government leaders, a cleft-free state will soon become closer to a reality – we look forward to seeing those smiles return," said Kathy Magee, President and Co-founder.
Prior to the most recent mission in India, an education and training program was conducted which underscores Operation Smile’s commitment to not only create new smiles, but also ensure that every child treated receives quality care from local medical volunteers throughout the year. The goal of Operation Smile training programs is to move towards sustainable programs conducted at the local level.
As a globally accredited International Training Organization of the American Heart Association, Operation Smile trained 21 nurses from the MMC Hospital and 16 members of the local medical community in Basic Life Support (BLS). Additionally, 51 student volunteers from local colleges were also trained in CPR.
Operation Smile’s work in India is representative of the organization’s global effort to bring high quality care to areas of the world that have a tremendous need for cleft lip and cleft palate treatment. Operation Smile has been working closely with the Assam government, and last year entered into a public-private partnership with the state of Assam to treat children with facial deformities within the region.
Operation Smile’s first mission to India was in 2002, and is scheduled to return to Guwahati in May 2010.
To read stories from our volunteers in the field as well as view photographs from this milestone medical mission, visit www.operationsmile.org/guwahati-2010. View blogs and photos from Operation Smile’s December Guwahati mission at www.operationsmile.org/guwahati.
Photos and interviews are available upon request.
About Operation Smile (www.operationsmile.org)
Founded in 1982 by Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee, Operation Smile, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is a worldwide children’s medical charity whose network of global volunteers are dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults. Since its founding, Operation Smile has treated more than 140,000 children born with cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities and the organization has a presence in more than 50 countries. In addition to contributing free medical treatment, Operation Smile trains local medical professionals in its partner countries and leaves behind crucial equipment to lay the groundwork for long-term self-sufficiency.