Operation Smile Medical Mission to Take Place in Mae Sot, Thailand, From December 8-18, 2006

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Operation Smile's second mission to Mae Sot, Thailand to repair children's cleft lips and cleft palates takes place during Operation Smile's 25th Anniversary Year.

An Operation Smile Medical Mission team will arrive in Mae Sot, Thailand, for an international medical mission taking place December 8-18, 2006 to assist children born with facial deformities. Founded in 1982, Operation Smile is a worldwide children's medical charity dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults.

Who:

An Operation Smile International Mission Team comprised of 35-40 credentialed medical professionals from around the world. Dr. Ninie Achalakul, Operation Smile Thailand Executive Committee member Cynthia Raglin, RN, Clinical Coordinator from Virginia

When:

December 8-18, 2006

Where:

Mae Sot General Hospital: Mae Sot, Thailand

This is Operation Smile's second mission to Mae Sot. The first mission took place in 2005, when 23 international medical volunteers, from Canada, Colombia, Italy and the United States, worked with a local volunteer medical team from Thailand. These medical professionals provided free medical evaluations to 121 and surgery to 73 children and young adults suffering from cleft lips, cleft palates and other deformities. The volunteer team members included plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, nurses, a dentist and speech therapist who worked together at Mae Sot General Hospital.

Thailand first became an Operation Smile partner country in 1997. Since that time, Operation Smile has conducted missions in six sites in Thailand, including Bangkok, Lampang, Mae Sot, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Yasothon, and Surin and medical volunteers have treated more than 4,000 children and young adults in Thailand through international medical missions and local in-country medical programs.

Thailand will be one of the partner countries participating during Operation Smile's 25th anniversary year. Operation Smile will commemorate its 25th Anniversary beginning November 2006 with a year-long, multi-faceted series of initiatives to include the following:

  • Global Standards of Care - Operation Smile announces a plan to implement Global Standards of Care for all of its medical programs as a commitment to ensuring that every patient treated by Operation Smile will benefit from the same sophisticated equipment,

procedures, and highly trained and credentialed medical staff, no matter where they receive care around the world.

  • Comprehensive Care Centers -- Operation Smile will open Comprehensive Care Centers in Colombia, Honduras, Morocco, China, India, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Each Center will provide surgical treatment and post-operative follow-up for thousands of additional patients, especially those in remote areas. The Centers will also help train medical volunteers, strengthen local development and fundraising activities and provide on-going administrative support for in-country activities.
  • International Forums on Medical Diplomacy - As part of its ongoing effort to create a global humanitarian network to bring healing to the world's children, Operation Smile will host international forums on medical diplomacy.
  • World Journey of Smiles -- The year-long anniversary celebration will culminate in November 2007, with the World Journey of Smiles, 40 simultaneous missions in 25 countries with a goal of treating an estimated 5,000 children living with facial deformities.

Photos of the Thailand Medical Mission available upon request.

About Operation Smile (http://www.operationsmile.org/)

Founded in 1982, Operation Smile, headquartered in Norfolk, Virginia, is a worldwide children's medical charity dedicated to helping improve the health and lives of children and young adults. Since its founding, Operation Smile has treated more than 100,000 children with facial deformities and provided education and training to physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world. In addition to contributing free medical treatment for children born with facial deformities, Operation Smile trains local medical professionals in its 25 partner countries and leaves behind crucial equipment to lay the groundwork for long-term self-sufficiency. Partner countries include: Bolivia, Brazil, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gaza Strip/West Bank, Honduras, India, Jordan, Kenya, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, South Africa, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Operation Smile has been distinguished by many prestigious awards, including the first $1 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to recognize outstanding contributions made to alleviate human suffering

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