Here we share the heartwarming stories of Celvinah, Ethan, Lahatriniavo and Claricia’s, whose journeys to care converged during an Operation Smile programme in Antsirabe, Madagascar.
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Siblings Lanto and Rindra were both born with a cleft lip in rural Madagascar. Their loving parents Rolland and Adeline worried what the future held for their youngest children if they couldn’t get surgery.
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Long-standing medical volunteer Jackie Matthews, has recently returned from the first Sub-Saharan Africa ‘Patient Management and Community Health Initiatives’ workshop,…
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After more than two years of the pandemic preventing Operation Smile from providing cleft surgeries in Madagascar, an international team of medical volunteers were finally able to unite to provide patients with care in Tamatave during the last week of April 2022.
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Six-years-old Honoré, before cleft surgery. Photos: Jörgen Hildebrandt

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 populated 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