Match made in heaven:
The partnership between Operation Smile South Africa and the Cipla Miles for Smiles foundation started over a decade ago. What started as purely financial donations has evolved into a partnership of change, one where not only beneficiaries of surgery’s lives are changed, but communities as whole.
What is Miles for Smiles?
Miles for Smiles was formed to assist Operation Smile in creating awareness for the plight of children born with cleft lip or palate with the purpose to raise funds to perform corrective surgery on sufferers of this deformity.
The fundamental aim of this initiative is to inspire and challenge individuals to go out and make a difference in the lives of those around them by challenging each other to achieve the impossible.
About Operation Smile South Africa
Founded in 2006, Operation Smile South Africa (OSSA) joined Operation Smile, Inc. as its 25th partner country.
Based in Cape Town, OSSA medical volunteers provide free surgeries to children and adults throughout Southern and Central Africa, as well as educational and training opportunities that promote sustainability and self-sufficiency throughout the region.
OSSA have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Department of Health in South Africa, Swaziland, Madagascar, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Malawi Rwanda and Namibia.
In 2006, OSSA conducted their inaugural medical mission in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, where 98 children and young adults received free medical evaluations and patients received free reconstructive surgery.
Since that momentous occasion in 2006 OSSA has traveled the length and breadth of Africa and in 2016 reached the incredible milestone of their 10 year anniversary.
To date they have provided over 6000 surgeries.
OSSA is part of a global non-profit medical services organisation that has over the past 35 years provided care to over 200 000 children and adults worldwide.
Currently they have a presence in over 60 countries.
Here are some quick facts about cleft lip and palette:
- Every 3 minutes a child somewhere in the world is born with a cleft lip and cleft palate.
- They are often unable to eat, speak, socialize or smile.
- One in 10 children born with a cleft will die before their first birthday.
- In Africa approximately one in every 1000 babies are born with a cleft lip or cleft palate.
- Without reconstructive surgery children born with these facial deformities often have difficulty breathing, drinking, eating and speaking. As a result, many suffer from malnutrition, medical and psychological problems.
- Children with untreated cleft lips and cleft palates may also develop permanent and significant hearing loss.
- A cleft lip or cleft palate operation and follow up care costs approximately R5500 per patient.
- One cleft lip surgery can take as little as 45 minutes to correct and can change a child’s life forever.
Video featuring David Grier in Thailand as example of miles for Smiles campaign
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