Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo medical mission
Operation Smile conducted a medical mission in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo. An international team of medical volunteers from 12 countries provided healthcare assessments to 211 patients and surgical care to 107 patients at the Jason Sendwe Hospital.
During this medical mission, Operation Smile was able to fly patients from Kamina, Kalemie and other remote villages to Lubumbashi. Because these locations were lacking in infrastructure, it was nearly impossible for them to get to Lubumbashi except by plane. One of these patients was a 4-year-old boy from Kalemie, named Nelson, who was born with a bilateral cleft lip. This was Nelson's first plane ride and first time in Lubumbashi.
During the medical screening process, one of the international volunteers gave Nelson a pink crown. From that point on, he refused to take the crown off his head. Operation Smile volunteers described him as a special child who never stopped smiling. After his surgery, Nelson returned to Kalemie with a big, whole smile on his face, and a pink crown on top of his head. His family was very grateful for Operation Smile's help.
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