Operation Smile Medical Mission to Take Place in Chinandega, Nicaragua, from January 23 - February 4, 2007

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Operation Smile heads up a medical mission team to repair children's cleft lips and cleft palates in Chinandega, Nicaragua between January 23, 2007 and February 4, 2007. This mission takes place during Operation Smile's 25th Anniversary Year.

An Operation Smile Medical Mission team will arrive in Chinandega, Nicaragua, for an international medical mission taking place January 23- February 4, 2007 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 to include:

  • Dr. Armando Siu, plastic surgeon and Operation Smile Nicaragua Medical Director
  • Linda Highfield, C.N.O.R., R.N., clinical coordinator from Ohio
  • Dr. Leon Klempner, orthodontist from New York
  • Andrea Standish, child life specialist from Texas
  • Deborah Smith, R.N., operating room nurse from Ohio
  • Bruce Smith, electronic medical records from Ohio

When:

January 23-February 4, 2007

Where:

Hospital España, Chinandega, Nicaragua

Nicaragua became an Operation Smile partner country in 1993. Since that time, Operation Smile has conducted 14 international missions to the capital city of Managua. This marks the first mission to the city of Chinandega. On Saturday, January 27, Operation Smile will hold a medical education conference for in-country nurses, anesthesiologists and surgeons to develop their knowledge and skills for treating cleft lip and cleft palate patients. The medical education conference will also increase awareness of Operation Smile programs and activities and expand its network of volunteers in Nicaragua.

The last Nicaraguan international medical mission took place on January 26, 2006, when a mission team of 45 medical and non-medical volunteers from Brazil, Mexico, Peru and the United States arrived at Hospital Infantil Manuel de Jesus Rivera in Managua to work with Operation Smile Nicaragua volunteers. Parents from throughout Nicaragua brought their children to the hospital hoping that their son or daughter would be chosen for surgery. Plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, pediatricians, a dentist, child life specialist and speech pathologist worked together to bring new smiles to children suffering from facial deformities. The medical team provided 189 children and young adults with free medical evaluations and 117 patients received free reconstructive surgery. Since their first visit to Nicaragua in 1993, nearly 1,600 children and young adults in Nicaragua have been treated during Operation Smile international medical missions.

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

  • Global Standards of Care - Operation Smile will announce 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.

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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Lisa Jones
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