You are here: Home > Programs > What is a medical mission?

Cleft Lip & Cleft Palate Surgical Programs: What is a medical mission? 

Our medical missions allow us to deliver safe surgeries to places where access to surgery may not be available.

We combine the talent of medical volunteers in the country and from different countries with the best practices in surgical care to meet two goals: immediately transform the children we treat while creating self-sufficient, long-term solutions.

International Missions: Life long partnership and lasting infrastructure

Our international medical missions consist of a team of credentialed medical professionals from around the world who travel to Vietnam treat children throughout a week period.

On a typical international medical mission, 150-200 children receive full medical evaluations and 100-120 children are surgically treated. We also use the opportunity to train in-country medical professionals, based on the needs of their health care workers or the facility where the mission takes place.

Thanks to the generous support of our donors, we are able to conduct international medical missions in Vietnam every year. 

Local medical missions: about 90% of surgeries in Vietnam are performed by local medical volunteers 

Based on our international medical mission model, teams of in-country medical volunteers in Vietnam conduct local surgical missions to take care the children in the country throughout the year.

As Operation Smile in Vietnam works toward building self-sustainability, it collaborates closely with local hospitals in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and has built strong medical teams in these hospitals. These teams have been along with the organizations since its inception mission in Vietnam, providing corrective surgeries for patients. Nowadays, with supports from these partnered hospitals and their medical teams, in average Vietnam carries out 2 local medical missions per month in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, following global standards of cares set by the organization.

The Anatomy of a Mission: A life changed: step by step 
On a medical mission, a team of up to 60 credentialed medical professionals (plastic surgeons, dentists, nurses, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, speech pathologists, child life specialists and biomedical technicians) volunteer to treat children over a week period in a local hospital. Our teams are comprised of in-country, regional, and international volunteers, including medical professionals as well as interpreters and Operation Smile program coordinators. International medical missions also include two high school students and a student sponsor. Along with our volunteers, our medical missions are equipped with medical cargo that meet our Global Standards of Care, including medical supplies and equipment provided to partner hospitals, clinics and care centers.Over the last three decades, we have developed a highly-efficient process for evaluating and treating hundreds of children during our surgical missions while delivering the highest standard of care.

Living Proof: Cong's Story 

On our Journey of Miracles in 2009, Khiem was one of thousand lucky children who received life changed surgery. His story illustrates the medical mission process, which transforms the lives of these children — and their families — in less than two weeks.



Help Now
To make a donation by check, direct transfer or bank-in, please click on the link below.

How Your Support Helps