Mission accomplished: Two boys smile after receiving surgery from international aid group Operation Smiles to correct thier cleft palates.
Cambodian children suffering from cleft palates and other facial deformities were offered free medical examinations and surgery in mid-March by Operation Smiles, an international team of doctors, at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship hospital in Phnom Penh.
The medical mission conducted some 230 free medical evaluations from March 13-21 and aimed to provide surgery to about 100 young patients suffering from facial deformities, said Operation Smiles spokesperson Fleur Childs.
Volunteers from Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States took part in the charity’s eighth mission in Phnom Penh.
Operation Smiles, founded in 1982, was last in Phnom Penh in November as part of its 25th anniversary year program.
The group began its work in Cambodia in 2002 at the invitation of Minister of Health Dr Hong Sun Huot. Since then it has provided over 2,200 free facial examinations and helped more than 1,000 Cambodian children and young adults with surgery to correct cleft lips and palates.
Childs said Operations Smiles has plans to build a permanent care center in Phnom Penh, which would provide children with year-round access to post-operative care, dental treatment and speech therapy. The charity already operates similar clinics in Vietnam and China.