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What is a mission?

During a medical mission, a team of Operation Smile credentialed medical professionals travel to a pre-determined site to treat children within an agreed mission period.

They bring with them medical equipment and supplies that conform to the Operation Smile Global Standards of Care, and set-up in a pre-approved hospital facility. A typical mission starts with final screening of pre-enlisted patients to determine which of them are priority cases. Lip patients usually are admitted for 24 hours after the operation, while palate have to stay much longer for 48 hours in the hospital.

What is the difference between an international and a local mission?

During international medical missions, a team of credentialed medical professionals from around the world travels to an Operation Smile partner country to treat children. On a typical international medical mission, 300-500 children receive full medical evaluations and 100-150 children are surgically treated. We also use the opportunity to train in-country medical professionals, based on the needs of their health care workers or the facility where the mission takes place.

Based on our international medical mission model, teams of in-country medical volunteers conduct local missions to take care of local children throughout the year. As the foundations work toward self-sustainability, many now have clinics where children can be treated all year, receiving not only post-operative care, but also consultations on dental health, speech therapy, nutrition and psychology. More than 60% of the children we treat throughout the world are treated locally, using Operation Smile techniques and training.

What does a patient need to do in order to qualify for surgery?

  1. Submit the patient information (Patient survey form) to the local OSP partner (BHCs, RHCs, MHCs, NGOs) during pre-screening; or fill out the online patient survey form [hyperlink].
  2. Get a CBC laboratory test for the patients two weeks or less prior to mission schedule; bring the results on the final screening (first day of mission)
  3. Submit through final screening
  4. Wait for the final results.

How much do we pay for the surgery?

Operation Smile provides treatment for free from final screening until discharge. The patient’s counterpart is their transportation and meal expenses during the missions.

However, because we raise funds through donations in order to support our medical missions, donations are accepted by the Operation Smile Philippines Foundation, Inc. All donations should always be issued Official Receipts and are accounted for the by organization based on legal guidelines of non-profits.

How long does a cleft surgery last?

While it depends of the severity of cases, a lip surgery lasts about 45 minutes, on the average. A palate surgery may last 2 hours.

Can a patient go home after surgery?

Lip patients usually are admitted for 24 hours after the operation, while palates have to stay much longer for 48 hours in the hospital.

What are the reasons why some of the patients get turned down or deferred for surgery?

Patients’ safety is always the priority of Operation Smile. Therefore, aside from ensuring that every patient receives the highest quality of care from our medical team, we also have to ensure that they are physically fit to undergo treatment.

The most common reasons why patients get deferred for surgery are underweight, upper respiratory illnesses and fever. That’s why it is important to go through the pre-screening process – interventions can be done to ensure that all patients are prepared for surgery.

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