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Operation Smile Cleft-Free Malawi

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Operation Smile Cleft-Free Malawi

March 2021 –

Operation Smile is an international medical charity whose global network of medical volunteers is dedicated to improving the health and lives of children suffering from cleft conditions.

Each year, volunteer medical teams travel to resource-poor environments and donate their time, knowledge and skills to provide free, safe and effective surgical procedures which change children’s lives forever.

Training and education are intrinsic to Operation Smile’s work. To build long term sustainability the medical volunteers share knowledge with local health care providers so that they are empowered to treat their local communities long after the volunteers have left.

In 2017 The Kentown Wizard Foundation made a grant of £200,000 to Operation Smile to fund a medical mission to Malawi. As a result of this grant, the lives of 125 children were transformed and valuable skills were transferred to Malawian medical professionals to build their surgical capabilities.

Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world and it is estimated that 2,400 children and young adults are living with unprepared cleft conditions. With only four surgeons able to perform cleft surgery in the whole country, progress is slow and limited. In the meantime, as many as 93% of children with unprepared cleft conditions could die before their 20th birthdays from malnourishment, infections or other associated complications. Those who do survive are vulnerable to negative attitudes, marginalisation and social stigma.

We feel compelled to try to help these children and have therefore entered into an ambitious multi-year funding agreement with Operation Smile to achieve Cleft-Free Malawi.

The Kentown Wizard Foundation has committed $5.3million to this five-year project and our aim is to eradicate the backlog of patients awaiting surgery and to upskill the Malawian healthcare system so that future children born with a cleft condition are given the safe, effective and timely treatment they deserve.

Charity Registration number: 1091316