Operation Smile, Watsons brings surgical and educational services

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 issues 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 she has started is Women in Medicine, which hopes 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 WHO recommended ratio of 44.5 health workers per 10,000 population.

The Women in Medicine program aims 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. served and to improve the overall quality of cleft care worldwide.

Operation Smile is launching 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 will help change the lives of 40 Cebu beneficiaries, will highlight the critical role women play in the global healthcare system and encourage them to take on leadership roles in their professions.

The multinational surgical and educational team is made up of 60 plastic surgeons, anesthesiologists, pediatricians, dentists, speech therapists, child life specialists and biomedical technicians from the United States, Vietnam, Australia, Guatemala, Colombia , Peru, Honduras, Sweden and the United Kingdom. , Egypt, South Africa and the Philippines.

Operation Smile co-founder and president Kathleen Magee said there are five million patients needing cleft care in the countries where the organization works, and five billion people who don’t have access to safe surgery around the world.

“We can’t meet this need without more women in healthcare,” Magee said.

“The spirit of bringing smiles to people’s faces lives on at Watsons. We are pleased to partner with Operation Smile on this groundbreaking program, as we not only continue to help change the lives of those born with cleft lip and palate issues, but also expand career opportunities for working women. of health,” said Viki Encarnacion. , director of public relations and sustainability at Watsons.

40 female Watsons employee volunteers join Operation Smile’s all-female team.

This partnership in the Philippines is part of AS Watson’s global commitment to bring 10,000 perfect smiles in conjunction with Operation Smile.

“Our promise to look good, feel good has always included doing good by improving the health and well-being of the communities where we operate,” Encarnacion said.

Christine E. Phillips