During the last financial year (FY22-23), our clinical programmes have reached unprecedented heights and we have provided essential health services to a broader range of patients. We have also continued to widen the reach of our life-saving comprehensive care, reaching more patients, in more places, sooner.

This year was truly special, as it marked forty years of Operation Smile, where we committed to finding and treating 1 million patients in our next decade. In FY22-23 we have already made great strides towards this global goal:

  • We have provided safe surgical care to 13,940 patients.
  • We have worked in 33 countries.
  • Our global footprint has spanned 177 hospitals.
  • We have brought comprehensive care to 56,097 patients.


This year the Operation Smile Kenya team has made significant progress in developing a long-term plan to strengthen hospital-based partnerships and local resources in the country.

Operation Smile Kenya conducted a review of their volunteer portfolio to ensure there are qualified and adequate professionals to provide safe surgery and facilitate education programmes, and a new maxillofacial surgeon and a new plastic surgeon joined our pool of medical volunteers in the country.

Operation Smile Kenya has also engaged Kenyatta National Hospital, our key partner hospital in the country, for both surgery and training. This critical partnership has resulted in a significant increase of patients receiving surgical care, from two to eight per month. The team has also worked to strengthen our nutritional capacity by facilitating the procurement of nutrition supplements and equipment to be distributed to partner hospitals.

Looking ahead, Operation Smile Kenya is progressing with plans to develop a working relationship with six new partner hospitals across the country, already successfully securing AIC Kijabe Mission Hospital as a new spoke hospital which will start surgeries in 2024. These new hospital partners will greatly impact our work as they are committed and experienced in delivering high-quality surgical care. They also have strong ties in the local communities they serve. The partner hospitals are spread across various parts of the country, enabling Operation Smile to decentralise service delivery and reach more patients in need of our care.


Operation Smile continues to work towards a cleft-free Malawi by providing surgical care to all children and adults living with untreated cleft conditions in the country. This work is increasing the country’s overall surgical capacity to benefit all children born with a cleft condition. It is also providing accessible year-round comprehensive cleft care services through hospital partnerships at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.

This year, 459 cleft surgeries were provided In Malawi, a 31.8% increase compared to last year. This was achieved through three short term surgical programmes and our hospital partnerships. In September 2022, Operation Smile Malawi was also privileged to conduct the third Women in Medicine Education and Leadership Conference in Lilongwe, with the theme: The Rise of Women in Global Health. This was preceded by an all-female, five-day surgical programme at Kamuzu Central Hospital.

During FY22-23 Operation Smile Malawi also secured a one-year placement of Dr Daniel Getachew Abate, a cleft surgeon from Ethiopia and a three-month placement for Dr Jonathan Dean, an anaesthetist from the United Kingdom. Both volunteers were placed at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital as part of our work to build local capacity and strengthen health systems in the country.


More than 200 patients are treated every year in Ghana thanks to Operation Smile Ghana’s strengthened hub and spoke capacity. The Cleft Surgery Training Programme has enrolled two plastic surgeons, with one other having graduated last year.

This year, two surgeons from our spoke hospitals are taking part in training at the hub, Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.

Over the past year the team in Ghana ran a cleft awareness campaign targeting community health workers and midwives across all health facilities in the Eastern Region of the country. This campaign reached and trained 611 community healthy workers.

In Ghana, malnutrition rates remain unacceptably high, with more than one in five children considered chronically undernourished. Operation Smile Ghana’s work aims to reducing malnutrition as a barrier to surgery and our efforts include training on feeding and nutrition, as well as providing nutrition supplements, community outreach, and nutrition workshops for families. This year, nutrition workshops have been extended to additional locations, Cape Coast, Koforidua and Ho.


Operation Smile has been working in Madagascar since 2007, providing safe, high-quality treatment for children affected by cleft conditions. Since then, we have delivered surgeries to nearly 4,000 patients and conducted 28 short-term surgical programmes.

This year, our work in Madagascar has reached the mid-way point of a five-year strategy. The ultimate goal is for safe surgical care to be provided at two major hospitals, CHUJRA and CHRR, following investment in infrastructure, equipment, and hands-on training. The renovation of the paediatric surgical ward at CHUJRA was completed in Autumn 2022, renovations began at CHRR and will be completed by Autumn 2023.

FY22-23 also saw four surgical programmes in August 2022, September 2022, March 2023 and April 2023. The March 2023 programme spanned a three-week period and focused on education and lectures for all cleft specialties.


Since 2005, Operation Smile Ethiopia has provided health screening and surgical care to 7,000 people. In 2012, we established a partnership with Jimma University Specialized Hospital, which has allowed us to train more than 100 Ethiopian medical providers across various specialties, including anaesthesiology, nursing, and surgery.

Our global hub and spoke model aims to expand the reach of quality health care services from the bigger cities to under resourced areas where most patients lack access to care. In Ethiopia, Jimma University Medical Center (JUMC) serves as a hub, and this year provided surgery for 522 patients. Operation Smile is working to develop our spoke hospitals in the country at Mizan Hospital, St. Paul Hospital, Adama Hospital and Bahir Dar Hospital.

This year, representatives from the UK attended the launch of Operation Smile’s Champion Programme in Ethiopia. They provided training for local surgeons focusing on primary cleft cases. The programme included more than 30 international volunteers, Operation Smile staff and more than 50 local volunteers. Throughout the week of activities, 39 patients were screened and 20 received surgery.


In Egypt, it is estimated that more than 14,000 children between the ages of one and four are affected by cleft conditions. Most of these children live beyond the reach of hospital care. Around 30% of the population also live below the poverty line, meaning many of our patients with cleft conditions face major barriers to receiving the care they need.

Operation Smile has been working in Egypt since 2005, providing safe, comprehensive care for children born with cleft conditions. Since then, we have provided over 4,700 patients with cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care. In Egypt, Operation Smile has long-standing partnerships with Assiut University, Sphinx University and Aswan University and this year we have opened a new care centre in Cairo. At the Cairo centre, as well as surgery, patients receive dental care and nutritional support. Local health workers can also attend training and education sessions.

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