Every child deserves access to the best care available

This is how we make it possible


It takes a village to raise a child, they say. And it takes collaboration with local medical professionals, governments, hospitals and other NGOs to create the most effective models of surgical care for children born with cleft conditions.

Together, we determine which solutions work best in order to reach as many children as possible wherever we work.

From medical missions to research, training and advocacy, everything we do has the same goal: to provide the most effective surgical care to patients worldwide.

Collaboration amd partnership

We could not do the work we do without the support of the National Department of Health in South Africa.

The ongoing relationship and friendship extended to the organisation enables patients and their families to receive the care and consideration they need.

Medical Missions

Each year, Operation Smile conducts hundreds of medical missions in locations around the world. Every one of those locations is unique. In some places, we have to import medical equipment. In some places, we have to import medical expertise. But in every location, we work with local health providers to deliver patients care in their own culture and in their own language.

Care Centres

Sometimes our patients require a relatively simple surgical procedure. Sometimes care is more complex. Operation Smile recognises that the need for care doesn’t stop when a medical mission ends. So wherever possible, we’ve established centres to ensure we can continue year-round care for patients who require comprehensive or more complex treatment than a single medical mission can provide.

Research Programmes

The exact cause of cleft remains unknown and Operation Smile is trying to find the answers. But our research also needs to identify new ways of delivering surgical care. We need to listen to patients and really understand what prevents them from accessing care so we can break down those obstacles for children and families who need surgery.

Training & Education

Training and education isn’t just something we do – it’s at the heart of everything we do. It happens on every engagement through the exchange of ideas and knowledge among our medical specialists from diverse backgrounds with varied levels of expertise. Together we have the same goal: improve how surgical care is delivered while empowering local communities.


Operation Smile has been committed to increasing access to surgical services for more than three decades and our patients are a testament to that. But there are patients who still need help. In alignment with the World Health Organization, we believe that safe, well-timed surgery is a basic service that should be accessible to all families and it’s our responsibility to advocate for their right to surgical services.