MEDICAL MISSIONS – Helping Children Smile Inc. have been sending medical missions to the Philippines since 1996. Since then we have helped restore the smiles and change the lives of over 900 children.
Mission team members are selected for their paediatric surgery experience and special interests in clefts in children and ability to work within a team environment, in circumstances not generally found in Australia. They are also chosen for their ability to respect and accommodate cultural changes.
All surgical equipment is transported to the Philippines by the mission members so as not to incur any costs to the host hospital, who offer the use of their operating theatre, recovery and ward beds. For example, in 2009 on our mission to Lubao we transported 64 pieces of precious luggage containing valuable equipment, supplies and medications. That year we screened 85 children, operating on 65. Some children had both lip and palate procedures. In our 2014 mission to Legaspi we transported 65 pieces of luggage, screened 65 children and operated on 59 children.
The children and their parents travel many hours to receive the free surgery. When they know a mission is coming to their area they congregate at the host hospital from many remote regions.
Mission areas we travel to on a rotational basis are: Urdaneta, Olongopo, Tuguegarao, Cabanatuan, Gua Gua, St. Cruz Laguna, Santa Rosa, Malolos, Atimonan, Lubao and Pasay.