Operation Smile to Conduct its First Medical Mission with an All-Women's Medical Team in Morocco

Press Release
Posted 2/28/2020

Operation Smile is bringing together more than 50 female medical volunteers from 25 countries, including Sweden, Philippines, United Kingdom, Mexico, Morocco, and Kenya, for the organization’s first medical mission comprised entirely of women. The team will provide free patient screenings for hundreds of Moroccans living with cleft lip and cleft palate with the goal of providing life-changing surgeries for 130 individuals.

Depending on the severity of the condition, people born with cleft conditions can experience a host of health problems including difficulty with reoccurring respiratory infections, eating, speaking and hearing. They can also suffer from emotional abuse and isolation caused by deep-rooted social stigma in their communities. The all-women’s mission, which will take place in Oujda, Morocco from March 6 – March 14, will help patients eliminate those potential serious medical and emotional problems.

“I am excited and proud to help bring this mission to fruition,” said Kathy Magee, Co-Founder and President of Operation Smile. “As a former nurse, I recognize that our female volunteers are powerful role models to inspire and mentor the next generation of health care workers,” she added.

The mission, Women in Medicine: Inspiring a Generation, aims to motivate young people to pursue a career in medicine and to celebrate the thousands of female medical volunteers who help ensure Operation Smile delivers the highest level of surgical care to patients affected by cleft conditions.

“On average, an Operation Smile medical mission team is comprised of 60% female volunteers. We already know that our work simply wouldn’t be possible without their talent, generosity and compassion. I’m so appreciative for all they do and I’m truly looking forward to joining some of those volunteers in Morocco for the Women in Medicine mission,” said Magee.

Female volunteers selected for the mission have a vast medical background in specialties and include surgeons, pediatricians, dentists, anesthesiologists and nurses. Dr. Carmen Kamas-Wieting, a dentist who resides in Houston, Texas, is one of four U.S. medical professionals who will be on the mission. “What a wonderful opportunity for women in the medical field to band together and offer free lifesaving surgery for patients. The visual will send a strong message about how far women have come and our capabilities in all parts of the medical field,” said Kamas-Wieting.

The all-female volunteer medical team will also engage in training and mentorship activities to include an innovative cleft surgery simulation workshop for plastic surgery residents and a Nasoalveolar molding (NAM) workshop for Moroccan dental and oral health care providers.

About Operation Smile: Operation Smile has provided hundreds of thousands of safe surgeries for those born with cleft lip and cleft palate. With more than three decades of expertise, Operation Smile creates solutions that deliver free surgery to people where it’s needed most. As one of the largest medical volunteer-based nonprofits, Operation Smile has mobilized thousands of medical volunteers from a wide range of medical specialties from more than 80 countries. Operation Smile engages public-private partnerships to advance health care delivery, train local medical professionals to provide surgical care for patients in their communities, donate crucial medical equipment and supplies, and increase access to surgical care so that everyone living with cleft is treated. Visit operationsmile.org, find us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

About Operation Smile Morocco: Operation Smile Morocco (OSM), founded in 1999, has become one of the strongest and most active Partners with  Operation Smile International, with a core group of more than 400 volunteers in the medical profession, who have offered their time, which has spurred the expansion of OSM programs for years. Operation Smile Morocco is recognized as one of the most respected medical NGOs in Morocco, and as such enjoys considerable support from the Moroccan Ministry of Health. A visit to our Website www.operationsmile.ma will give you more information.