With your help, we build local capacity to provide surgery and dental care for thousands of children each year. We know that people in low-resource environments are more than capable of revolutionizing the delivery of care and creating solutions to the problems their people face. All they need are the resources to make it happen.
We currently provide world-class cleft care in more than 30 countries supported by more than 6,000 volunteers from 60 countries.
Where We Work
Operation Smile works with local health care providers, governments, hospitals to deliver the most effective and safe surgical care to patients. We have foundations and rep offices all around the world. Please contact our global headquarters and we'll connect you with the appropriate people.
Operation Smile established a presence in Australia in 1999
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Bolivia was held in 1999
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Brazil was held in 1997
Operation Smile established a presence in Canada in 2011
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Chian was held in 1991
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Colombia was held in 1988
Operation Smile's first surgical program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was held in 2009
Operation Smile's first surgical program in the Dominican Republic was held in 2009
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Ecuador was held in 1995
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Egypt was held in 2006
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Ethiopia was held in 2005
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Ghana was held in 2011
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Guatemala was held in 2011
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Honduras was held in 1997
Operation Smile's first surgical program in India was held in 2002
Operation Smile established a presence in Italy in 2000
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Jordan was held in 2000
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Kenya was held in 1987
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Madagascar was held in 2007
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Malawi was held in 2012
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Mexico was held in 2006
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Morocco was held in 1998
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Mozambique was held in 2014
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Panama was held in 1991
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Paraguay was held in 2005
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Peru was held in 1999
Operation Smile's first surgical program in the Philippines was held in 1982
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Rwanda was held in 2010
Operation Smile's first surgical program in South Africa was held in 2006
Operation Smile established a presence in Sweden in 2010
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Thailand was held in 1997
Operation Smile established a presence in the United Kingdom in 2001
Dr. Bill Magee and Kathy Magee founded Operation Smile in 1982 in Norfolk, Virginia
Operation Smile's first surgical program in Vietnam was held in 1989
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Dominican Republic
- South Africa
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
International and Local Surgical Programs
Each year, we conduct more than 100 surgical programs, and every one of them is unique. In some places where we work, we supply medical equipment, and in others, we deploy specialized medical volunteers. Regardless of the location, we work with the local community to create solutions that deliver the highest quality of care possible.
Over the years, we’ve perfected the surgical program model. On an international surgical program, medical and nonmedical volunteers from around the world come together and work seamlessly to deliver exceptional care to our patients. During local surgical programs, the same quality of care is provided, but it is delivered by local health care professionals. It’s an important milestone when a foundation builds the capacity to host a surgical program on its own. Learn more about what it took for Operation Smile Ghana to reach this milestone.
Planning a surgical program can take months. Our dedicated patient coordinators execute country-wide awareness and recruitment campaigns in advance to advertise the services we provide. At the same time, our program coordinators handle the logistics required to secure the supplies and the space need to host our patients, their families and our volunteers. The program itself lasts less than two weeks and includes health screenings, speech and nutrition therapy, dental care, surgery and post-operative care. For a closer look at our surgical programs, check out at these scenes of hope and healing from Peru, Mozambique and India.
Year-Round Centers of Care
Our patients’ need for care doesn’t stop when a surgical program ends. That’s why we operate 27 care centers in 18 countries that provide year-round solutions for those who require more complex treatment than a single program can provide. At these centers, patients receive free services including dentistry, orthodontics, speech therapy, nutritional counseling, psychosocial care, and cleft and orthognathic surgeries from our dedicated staff and volunteers.
The Comprehensive Care We Provide
PSYCHOSOCIAL CARE: Certified psychosocial care providers help patients and families throughout the course of their treatment.
SURGERY: Timely cleft surgery is essential to a patient’s long-term health and well-being.
DENTISTRY: Dentists provide specialized procedures and create devices that improve patients’ surgical results and overall health.
ORTHODONTICS: Orthodontic care is also crucial to a patients’ healthy oral development and personal confidence.
SPEECH: Speech therapists help patients speak more clearly and teach parents feeding techniques for their babies.
NUTRITION: A cleft condition can cause malnourishment. Our nutritional support helps patients grow healthy for surgery.
Our long-term goal is to establish year-round centers in every country where we work. The multidisciplinary care we provide at our centers in Colombia and Morocco represents the standard of services we're working to make available to every patient.
Training and Education Programs
We’re proud that nearly 80% of our medical volunteers are health care professionals from the low- and middle-income countries we serve. A majority of them have received training and education from us. We’re investing in strengthening health systems and partnering with universities, nonprofits and governments with one mission in mind: Delivering safe surgery to people where it’s needed most.
Rwanda faces dire challenges when it comes to the number and skill of its health care professionals: Only two reconstructive plastic surgeons and 18 anesthesiologists serve the country of nearly 12 million people.
Don't fish for us, teach us how to fish — I like that approach.
Globally, the need for surgical care extends far beyond cleft conditions. The lack of adequately trained surgical teams forces people to wait years for treatment. We want to alleviate this suffering in Rwanda, and in every country where we work, by empowering local health care workers through training and education.
A child is born with cleft every 3 minutes. You can give one of these children a life-saving treatment today for just $240.
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