Operation Smile, Watsons bring all-female surgical team to Cebu

In an effort to bring smiles to customers, Watsons Philippines began its partnership with Operation Smile nine years ago. Since then, the partnership has changed the lives of 2,073 people, born with cleft lip and palate problems, through free surgeries.

Operation Smile, one of the largest medical volunteer-based nonprofits in the world, has mobilized thousands of medical volunteers from a wide range of medical specialties from more than 80 countries.

One of the initiatives he started was Women in Medicine, which hoped to inspire and empower women to take on leadership roles in the medical field.

According to the World Health Organization, 70% of health professionals worldwide are women. However, the Philippines is still short of 290,000 health workers to meet the World Health Organization’s recommended ratio of 44.5 health workers per 10,000 population.

The Women in Medicine program sought to educate women in resource-poor countries about advanced medical practices, equip them with the tools to become leaders in global medicine, expand opportunities for female health workers in underserved communities and improve the overall quality of cleft care worldwide.

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Operation Smile launched Women in Medicine in the Philippines, making the country the fourth in the world to work with the organization on the all-female initiative.

An all-female international surgical and educational mission was held at a local hospital in Cebu from October 10-15. The surgical and educational mission, which would help change the lives of 40 beneficiaries in Cebu, would highlight the crucial role women play in the global healthcare system.

Christine E. Phillips