Making Safe, Quality Surgery Available to the Most Marginalized

March 31, 2015

In June 2014 Operation Smile implemented the first in a series of patient-centered research projects to better understand the complexities of patients’ lives, the barriers they experience in accessing cleft care, and the major constraints that prevent patients from receiving care. This research will influence how Operation Smile delivers care in the future by recognizing the specific needs of patients and tailoring programs to those needs.

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The NEXT Era of Smiles – The First Step toward a Cleft Free Vietnam

March 26, 2015

Operation Smile’s organizational strategy for countries like Vietnam is to eradicate the backlog of individuals waiting for cleft lip and cleft palate surgery in the next five years.  The first step towards eradicating the backlog is to understand what the backlog is. Through a prevalence study conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the National Children’s Fund, Operation Smile will estimate how many patients are still waiting for treatment and will work to gain insight into the specific challenges that individuals with CL/P have in accessing care. 

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Treating Fistula through Collaboration

March 24, 2015

A few years ago, the operating room suite of the Sendwe Hospital was newly renovated. The overhaul was a well-intentioned gift to the community. But, due to a critical shortage of healthcare workers, Sendwe Hospital’s five state-of-the-art operating rooms remained sorely underutilized. 

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Increasing safety through life support training

March 20, 2015

In February more than 90 nurses and physicians gathered in Panama City, Panama to take life support classes including Basic Life Support (BLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). These classes are offered through a long-standing partnership between the American Heart Association and Operation Smile.

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Continuing Educational Initiatives in Nicaragua through Medical Missions

January 20, 2015

In May 2015 Operation Smile plans to conduct four simultaneous surgical missions with the aim of providing free reconstructive surgery to children and adults born with cleft lip and cleft palate. In addition to surgical care delivery, Operation Smile will provide training in safe surgery practices to Nicaraguan medical professionals. 

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Creating Safe Environments on Surgical Missions

January 9, 2015

Data suggests that at least half of all surgical complications are avoidable. The World Health Organization has undertaken a number of global and regional initiatives to address this concern. One of the initiatives being the Global Patient Safety Challenge: Safe Surgery Saves Lives addresses the safety of surgical care.

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Addressing the unmet need for cleft care in Honduras

December 19, 2014

In order to quantify the need for unmet care, a prevalence study is being conducted in partnership with a Honduran development enterprise that surveys the nation’s electric meters each month.  A network of more than 300 company employees will visit every household in Honduras that has electricity and will inquire as to whether any individual living within or near the household is in need of cleft care.  

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Resource Limitations and Surgical Safety Concerns

December 17, 2014

Recent events in India have again drawn the world’s attention to the importance of safe surgical practices.  A report from the state of Orissa in India revealed that surgical teams were using bicycle tire pumps to insufflate women’s abdomens for sterilization procedures, as well as reusing needles, gloves, and other surgical supplies in an unsafe manner during operations.  During certain surgical procedures, air is pumped into the abdominal space to “insufflate” (or inflate) the belly.  This allows the surgeon to navigate instruments within the abdominal space and to visualize different anatomical structures.  

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Safe Anesthesia: An Essential Component of Safe Surgery

December 12, 2014

While the term “Safe Surgery” is often used in the literature, it is important to remember that a vital component of surgery, and often the part associated with the greatest risk, is anesthesia. In fact, Hendel et al. recently described safe anesthesia as “the rate limiting step” in providing surgical care in low-income countries. They suggest that international advocacy groups and organizations support national professional societies for anesthesia providers in developing standards of practice, quality initiatives, and opportunities for continuing medical education to strengthen safe anesthesia in low-income countries.

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MOU Signed with Ministry of Health of Vietnam

December 8, 2014

Since 1989 Operation Smile, in partnership withthe Government of Vietnam has been providing surgery to children across the country that suffer with surgically correctable facial deformities. Through this partnership there has been a rich exchange of techniques and approaches to patient management that has benefitted both parties. In November of 2014 the partners signed a MOU to continue to partner to provide treatment to children in need as well as partnering to develop programs to increase the availability and access to safe surgery in Vietnam.

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Equity in Access to Safe Surgery and Anesthesia

December 3, 2014

In a recent review by Steffner et al., the authors present the currently available evidence regarding disparities in access to safe surgery and anesthesia.  They describe the growing burden of surgical disease in low- and middle-income countries, the major gaps in human resources, material supplies, and infrastructure, and the lack of data from which to approach these issues.  Together, these issues comprise a major source of inequity within global health.

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Education Conference

December 1, 2014

In October, Operation Smile hosted an education conference for medical volunteers from Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic. The volunteers came together for classroom-style and hands-on training to prepare them for upcoming surgical programs and to move towards full credentialing. The conference included life support courses, a one-day lecture-based component, and two days of surgeries and hands-on training.

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Listening to Our Patients

November 26, 2014

Operation Smile is committed to delivering patient centered care that is accessible to every person living with an unrepaired cleft lip or palate.  Over the last 32 years Operation Smile has taken care of thousands of children with cleft lip and palate.  As we look to the future and pursue the goal of extending surgical care to all those in need, we realized that we needed to better understand our patients, their lives and their constraints.

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Surgical Training Rotation in Butaro, Rwanda

November 24, 2014

By: Allison Bradshaw, Associate Vice President of Volunteers, Education and Training

In September and October of this year, Operation Smile conducted a surgical training rotation in Butaro, Rwanda. The rotation lasted for three weeks in Butaro Hospital, a hospital built through a collaboration between Rwanda’s Ministry of Health and Partners in Health. Our team from Operation Smile included international volunteers with specialties in plastic surgery, head and neck surgery, anesthesia, and nursing. The international volunteers were paired with local Rwandan counterparts in an effort to conduct training and increase surgical capacity.

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To heal the world, we need healers

November 21, 2014

By: Timothy Lu, Program Officer at Operation Smile

If you spend any time speaking with a physician or administrator at a hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the topic of “brain drain” will probably come up. It happens when a country loses highly trained workers who move to more developed areas or higher income countries.

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Advocating for Safety in Global Surgery: An Introduction

November 19, 2014

Surgery has long been recognized as an essential element of a comprehensive health system, yet its introduction into the global health dialogue has only been relatively recent. While the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Mahler, stated over 30 years ago that “people in need must have access to skilled surgical care at the first-line referral hospitals,” the role of surgery in universal health care was not widely recognized until decades later. In 2005, the WHO established the Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care (GIEESC) to help support the promotion of surgical capacity development.

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Welcome to the Center for Safety in Global Surgery’s blog

November 17, 2014

BGD_2006_Sherman_090_web-2.jpgThe Center for Safety in Global Surgery (CSGS) was founded with the belief that the delivery of safe surgical care should be an essential health service accessible to all individuals, regardless of location or income level.  The reality, however, is that two billion people lack access to surgery and it is likely that billions more lack access to safe, well-timed and effective surgery.

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