We had a team of more than 50 female medical volunteers from 25 countries who, together, provided life-changing surgeries for nearly 130 patients and conducted training and education workshops. In the beginning of the week, we provided 286 patients with full health screenings. Our amazing female-led team of volunteers worked efficiently and collaboratively at every station of the screening process.
Dr. Carmen Kamas-Weiting from the US alerted her fellow dental volunteers after realizing that Janat, who was just 1-month-old, was severely malnourished when she arrived for screening. Dr. Vilma Arteaga De Cifuentes of Guatemala and Dr. Teresita Pannaci of Venezuela sprang into action and transported Janat and her family to our year-round care center to be fitted for a feeding plate. She was one of two children who received feeding plates to make eating, breathing and drinking possible until they are healthy enough for surgery.
Fouzia Mahmoudi co-founded Operation Smile Morocco 20 years ago and continues to serve as Vice President and Regional Vice President of the MENA region. Her daughter, Nour, began volunteering with the foundation in 2006, but has since taken over as the Program Manager. With such great female leadership in this foundation, it only makes sense that Morocco is the first to host our all-female volunteer mission in Oujda. “From my perspective, the involvement in women in medicine is very important. I think the impact of women in medicine is just as great as men in medicine. A woman cares about her patients as if they’re her own children, so I think the impact is big and I think this will be even more impactful for the organization,” Fouzia said.
Khadija traveled 12 hours with her baby daughter, Meriem, to Oujda to reach our mission site. Many parents living in low- and middle-income countries with children who are born with cleft conditions don’t know that safe surgical care is accessible, luckily Khadija learned right away thanks to her doctor. After Meriem received free, safe surgery, Khadija looked at her daughter’s new smile and was glad that she will be able to grow up and live a happy, normal life. Meriem was just one of almost 130 patients our all-female volunteers cared for during the mission.