Operation Smile Thailand is an international non-profit medical organization with the Vision for a future where health and dignity are improved through safe surgery and the Mission to deliver through our expertise in treating cleft lip and cleft palate, we create solutions that deliver safe surgery to people where it’s needed most. More than delivering safe and free surgeries, we also provide comprehensive care for children and young adults effected by cleft, by providing speech camps, pre and post-operative care, in-depth training to healthcare providers and constantly improving on betterment of the quality of life for the patients. Our goal is to restore back the smiles to the patients, their families and the community at large.
In Thailand each year, about 2,000 babies are born with a cleft lip and/or a cleft palate. Moreover, the number does not include babies in hill tribes, minority groups, refugee camps, or other unnoticed cases. Children who are born with a cleft lip and a cleft palate have difficulty in breathing, speaking, eating, and drinking, which can lead to malnutrition, dental problems, ear diseases, and risks of infection. Also, they are mentally affected by some people who do not understand their physical differences. This can lead to isolation, bullying, and abusing.
Cleft lip or cleft palate surgery costs between 25,000 to 200,000 THB. It is an enormous obstacle for poor patients who are unable to afford the treatment.
Operation Smile Thailand creates a smile for patients suffering from a cleft lip, a cleft palate, a burn, and other facial deformities with the following care:
- Weeklong Medical Mission: mobilizes medical personnel to perform surgery to treat a cleft lip, a cleft palate, and other facial disorders in remote areas where specialized medical professionals are lacked;
- Ongoing Medical Mission: raises funds for hospitals with specialist medical personnel but lacking funds for surgical treatment;
- Post-Operative Care: provides continuous post-operative care for patients in need of additional treatment, such as speech pathology, facial restructuring surgery, and special cases that require long-term treatment;
- Volunteer Student Program: builds collaboration with educational institutions to empower youth with volunteerism, social responsibilities, and leadership skills. The program includes activities for raising awareness and fundraising for Operation Smile Thailand;
- Educational Event and Training: collaborates with the American Heart Association to organize life support training seminars ranging from Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) to Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) for medical volunteers across the country.
Throughout the 22-year period that Operation Smile Thailand has operated, there are over 12,000 people who have received free surgery and have a network of over 200 volunteer medical personnel.