Operation Restore Hope are a team of Kiwi surgeons, anaesthetists, and nurses, who (along with their Australian and German counterparts) travel to the Philippines every year to surgically repair cleft lips and palates for affected underprivileged Filipino children. For around 7 – 10 days annually in the Philippines, along with year round fundraising, planning, administration and background work, these volunteers work to achieve the charity’s goal to enable all children to start school with a smile. Operation Restore Hope operates in one of Manila’s poorest neighbourhoods, Caloocan, where 37% of the population live in dire poverty. Cleft lip and palate deformities are comparatively prevalent in the Philippines with nearly 200,000 Filipinos estimated to be awaiting surgery for their deformity. This unusually high number is due to the high proportion of Filipinos carrying the gene which causes the deformity. Less mobility amongst the less fortunate allows the gene to flourish. Malnutrition in pregnant mothers increases the extent of the deformity. There are simply just not enough trained surgeons in the Philippines to deal with the caseload. Without access to the free surgery provided through Operation Restore Hope, operative repair is unlikely for many. A cleft lip and/or palate denies a child normal speech and appearance. These children are relegated to a lowly, impoverished life where they are likely to be denied the simplest privileges such as schooling, social contact and eventual employment to due to their deformity. Surgery gives these children the ability to communicate, through speech and something as simple as a smile. Whilst Operation Restore Hope’s purpose is to correct deformities for those who without the donation of services would remain untreated, they are also very committed to the training of Filipino Surgeons and Anaesthetists. Intensive training during the annual missions ensures that local staff can then carry on working with the patients, performing highly skilled surgery and achieving on their own what this charity has always set out to achieve. Operation Restore Hope NZ is always looking for surgical, anaesthetic and nursing volunteers, assistance with travel needs and donations of supplies and equipment. If you would like to find out more or enquire as to how you can help, please contact them via www.operationrestorehope.org.
Operation Restore Hope was last modified: March 9th, 2016 by