Adapting to the urgent and current global health concerns, Operation Smile has refocused its efforts towards extending assistance to frontliners, while supporting patients and their families in new ways amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Operation Smile Philippines (OSP) has utilized the $10,000 (about P500,000) grant from the headquarters to purchase 1,000 complete sets of PPEs (personal protective equipment) consisting of face shields, gowns, gloves and foot covers that were distributed to 19 hospitals in Metro Manila and three in Quezon Province.
In addition, OSP provided another $10,000 worth of medical supplies to its partner hospitals in Cebu and its partner cleft center in Davao.
A total of 66 OSP volunteers composed of 22 medical doctors and 44 nurses are working in the frontlines battling the pandemic.
OSP beneficiaries include Sta. Ana Hospital (Manila Cleft Care Center), Pagamutan ng Dasmarinas (Cavite), Jesus Datu Medical Center (Pampanga Center), East Avenue Medical Center, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital;
National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Rizal Medical Center, Tondo Medical Center, Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Calauag St. Peter General Hospital, Calauag Municipal Infirmary;
RHU Calauag, Pasig Children’s Hospital, Bicol Medical Center, Marikina Saint Francis Hospital, San Juan Medical Center, Valenzuela Medical Center, Fabella Hospital, and Makati Medical Center.
“It doesn’t really matter if the organization’s primary mission is to provide surgical and medical care to patients with cleft conditions, we are in a global medical emergency and Operation Smile is ready to step in and extend help any way we can,” Operation Smile Philippines executive director Angel Mojica said.
“We will support the frontliners the way they have supported our cause and we intend to provide virtual health services to our patients so that they remain healthy until we can begin surgeries again,” Mojica added.
A non-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive care to children and young adults with cleft lip and cleft palate, Operation Smile has suspended medical missions worldwide due to COVID-19.
However, the organization undertook a pandemic-focused campaign called “Care Never Stops” aimed at keeping people safe and healthy by mobilizing resources towards relief efforts.
It redirected crucial equipment and supplies already on hand to its partner countries, as well as provided additional funds for the purchase of PPEs for hospital partners and frontline health workers.
The beneficiaries include Operation Smile foundations in various countries such as Bolivia, Ghana, Guatemala, Honduras, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Egypt, Jordan, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Malawi, Vietnam, the Philippines and more.
Operation Smile offices in other countries also contributed to the efforts such as Colombia by donating 50,000 pieces of PPEs and Brazil which donated 200,000. Paraguay and Peru also donated equipment and supplies while Australia and Guatemala provided food packages and hygiene kits to health workers. Likewise, India distributed food to local communities where their patients live.
While the medical missions of OSP are postponed until December 31, 2020, the organization will push through with other essential activities such as online speech therapy courtesy of volunteer speech therapists, and online training of clinical coordinators and nurses to be facilitated by Operation Smile International (OSI).
It includes updating of volunteer credentials, patients mapping, continuous communications with cleft patients, and coordination with local government units (LGUs), donors, hospital partners, government agencies, and volunteers.