Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - New clinic performs ‘operation smile’

New clinic performs ‘operation smile’

A woman holds a child with a cleft palate yesterday at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital
A woman holds a child with a cleft palate yesterday at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital in Phnom Penh. Heng Chivoan

New clinic performs ‘operation smile’

Thirty-year-old Sam Hoiy never dreamed her son would have the opportunity to live a life without the cleft lip that has always marred his otherwise delicate features.

“I was really disappointed with my son’s [lip] when he was first born, but tomorrow my son’s lip will change and he will have a nice smile forever,” she said, gazing at his face outside the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital yesterday.

Hoiy’s seven-month-old son is one of more than 100 Cambodians being treated and screened by a team of national and international experts working for the surgical NGO Operation Smile. The two-day screening that began on Sunday marks the official opening of the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital’s cleft surgery clinic, David Fruitman, secretary of Operation Smile’s board of directors, said.

“Today was an important day with his Excellency Hun Manet in attendance as well as the Minister of Health [Mam Bunheng]. We were planning on providing screening for one day but so many patients arrived that we conducted a second day of screenings with a team of national and international doctors,” Fruitman said.

The clinic is offering free operations to children and young adults for the treatment of cleft lips, which involve a split in a child’s upper lip, cleft palates, which originate in the roof of the mouth, and other facial deformities.

Surgeries began on March 31 and will continue until April 4. So far, 114 patients have been screened, with 21 procedures taking place yesterday.

Ngy Meng, director of the hospital, said yesterday that some $160,000 was spent on building and repairing four new surgery rooms located on the third floor of the hospital, with funds donated by Manet, the eldest son of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

Since Operation Smile Cambodia’s first mission in 2002, volunteer medical experts have performed approximately 3,300 free surgeries throughout more than 10 provinces.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australians protest Asean summit visit by PM Hun Sen

    Hundreds of protesters gathered in Sydney’s Hyde Park on Friday to protest against Cambodian strongman Hun Sen, who claimed to have been gifted millions of dollars by the Australian government ahead of a special Asean summit this weekend. An estimated 300 protesters, the majority of

  • One Australian, one Cambodian killed in explosion at military base

    Updated: 5:20pm, Friday 16 March 2018 An Australian tourist and a Cambodian soldier were killed in an explosion on Thursday afternoon at an army base in Cambodia’s Kampong Speu province. The Australian, whom the government initially identified as a technical demining expert in his 40s, and

  • Peeling back layers of prehistory in Battambang

    When the man passed away, he had not yet reached 50. He belonged to a tribe that had settled near the Sangker River in Battambang province, likely cultivating the fields and raising animals. On the side, they hunted for boars, and even turtles, one of which