A message from Teri Cosgrove, Operation Smile Ireland CEO

Dear friends

Above all I hope this message finds you safe and well. As part of the Operation Smile family, you have helped thousands of children smile again by providing priceless, life changing cleft surgery, so I wanted to reach out to you in this time of uncertainty with an update on how Operation Smile is responding to Covid-19.

Firstly, please know that your support has already done so much to strengthen healthcare systems in the countries where we work. Through our focus on cleft surgery, we have educated and trained healthcare workers not only in surgery but in life support, nursing and Anaesthesia. This training will now help save lives all around the world. Here are some examples of recent activities:

  • Just two weeks ago in Malawi, three Operation Smile volunteer anaesthetists delivered seven days training for 80 Anaesthesia Clinical Officers, upskilling their knowledge in safe anaesthesia and airway care which will now help with the Covid-19 response in Malawi.
  • In Ethiopia, we have helped train over 50 anaesthetists, and equipped the regional hospital in Jimma with essential equipment which will support their provision of critical care.
  • Last year, Operation Smile delivered American Heart Association life support training to 2,370 medical personnel which will save lives. This happens in every country that we work in.

As a medical charity working in developing countries, we have formed a Covid-19 Response Team to clearly identify where we can help our Operation Smile family overseas. We are doing everything we can to find ways to help to support the fight against Covid -19.

  • Local Operation Smile teams will continue to provide safe surgery for children born with cleft conditions, where it is possible and safe to do so.
  • When possible, we will continue to provide nutritional support for at risk infants and as we gather information on cleft patients for our registers, our outreach coordinators will become part of the support network for communities if Covid -19 spreads.
  • Our registers will remain active so that when surgery does become possible, we are able to reach children left behind as quickly as possible.
  • Led by Dr Ruben Ayala, Chief Medical Officer, our senior leadership team is evaluating ways we can directly support the fight against Covid -19 with Ministries of Health requests and through our extensive medical networks. This may include redirecting essential consumables such as masks, gowns and gloves and some equipment into hospitals.

There is so much that we have done and will do together. We will keep our website up to date with our latest news and I hope you will visit us at www.operationsmile.ie. If you have any questions regarding our work at this time please contact us at 01 667 6659 or info@operationsmile.ie. Thank you so much for your ongoing support. It’s humbling to see the very best of humanity through you, at the most difficult of times.

With our very best wishes to you and your family as we weather this storm together.

Teri Cosgrove

Chief Executive Officer Operation Smile Ireland