Sharing in the goal of revolutionizing healthcare, Operation Smile Philippines expands network of partners to provide access to world-class surgery and care for more Filipinos across the country.
As Operation Smile (OS), a non-profit medical services organization, enters a new era as a global network driving access to cleft surgery and care, the organization commits to continue to provide world-class healthcare in more than 30 countries including the Philippines, and increase access to safer care for 1 million patients over the next decade.
OS has expanded its network of key partnerships, forged with the common goal of increasing access to oral care. Key considerations include a convergence of core values, brand personality, and business objectives for 4 pillars of partnerships: sponsorship of treatment, patient recruitment, use of hospital facilities, and training and advocacy.
“We at Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) are fortunate to have the support of partners across a wide range of organizations and industries in order to reach our goal and revolutionize the delivery of healthcare and surgery in the Philippines,” said Emiliano Romano, Executive Director of OSP.
SPONSORSHIP OF TREATMENT
In the past 40 years, OSP has reached 839,719 patient interactions, from medical evaluation, dental treatment, surgery, speech therapy, and psycho-social intervention. Donors such as Watsons Personal Care Stores Philippines, Inc, (Watsons) has been instrumental in making these patient care possible.
In 2021, Watsons had sponsored the reconstructive surgeries of 50 children with cleft condition. They have renewed their commitment with OSP to fund a total of 100 surgeries this year.
With the help of donors, OSP is able to deliver more than just quality cleft care. The impact of the donations goes beyond treatment and into the education of patients, too.
Early treatment is important for cleft palate repair as it gives patients a chance to significantly reduce speech problems, medical and dental conditions, and alleviate emotional issues from rejection and bullying.
However, Filipinos are faced with several challenges before receiving treatment. These include the distance to a treatment site, cost of transportation, and lack of awareness of the availability of free treatment.
OSP’s network of partners has greatly improved patient recruitment, including case-finding and patient transport to treatment sites and back. With the help of partners, OSP has now recruited patients from 85 Philippine cities over the past 40 years.
PNP’s Regional offices provide support for OSP in improving access to reconstructive surgery for children with cleft conditions. Last year, a Memorandum of Agreement was signed with the goal of locating children with cleft conditions across different provinces and referring them to OSP for free medical evaluation and treatment, improving healthcare in the regions.
With Philippines AirAsia Inc “alwaysREDy to go the extra mile for a smile,” the airline has ferried children born with cleft lip and palate from far-flung areas and chartered mercy flights for typhoon affected areas.
USE OF HOSPITAL FACILITIES
Partners also help with the creation of cleft care centers and the hosting of surgical activities. Now with Cleft Care Centers in Davao, Manila, Pampanga, along with our partner hospital in San Pedro Laguna, we have the potential to reach more patients across the Philippines. OSP also has surgical programs in the following sites this year: Dasmarinas Cavite, Cauayan Isabela, Manila, Cebu, Bacolod, Palawan, and Naga.
Launched early this month, one of OSP’s latest hospital partnerships with Fabella Memorial Hospital holds an exciting new model.
This program will create the first cleft registry, train midwives on cleft care and maternity care, and create more awareness on avoiding cleft births. The program is replicable with other partner hospitals, with OSP leading the application and the hospitals providing the funding and structure, further widening access to quality healthcare across the Philippines.
TRAINING AND ADVOCACY
Treatment would not be possible without the volunteers and non-volunteer health care workers. As training is necessary for safe surgery and maternal and infant care, advocates are also essential in driving access to access to quality cleft care in communities that need it.
Johnson & Johnson Philippines Inc. (JJPI) has supported OSP since 1997 through funding as well as the training and development of experts in plastic surgery, dentistry, speech therapy, and more fields of expertise.
JJPI reaffirmed their commitment to OSP through the provision of hygiene products, merchandising initiatives made in partnership with Listerine and Watson’s to increase awareness on oral care and speech difficulties.
“These partnerships are the product of a shared vision of improving the health of children and families in underserved communities, enabling more Filipinos to enjoy a better quality of life in greater confidence,” Romano said.