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Santa Cruz, Bolivia Medical Mission

Mar 10 – 18 2016
Santa Cruz Medical Mission
Medical Missions

From March 10 through 18, Operation Smile conducted an international medical mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. During the medical mission, 269 people received patient assessments and 134 received surgery.

Stories from the medical mission:

Santos and his father had to travel for over 24 hours to get Santos the cleft care he needed at the Operation Smile medical mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Their family resides in a small village in Bolivia that is located very far from any public transportation network. In order to access the buses that would take them to Santa Cruz, Santos' father walked for nine hours carrying his son on his hip for the entire journey. It took several bus rides and over a dozen additional hours for the father and son to reach the medical mission site. Once at the medical mission, Santos' father struggled to communicate with the medical volunteers as Santos' family speaks a local Bolivian language rather than Spanish, the most prominent language in the country. However, despite the language barrier, Santos was all smiles around the Operation Smile team and proudly showed off the ballon he was given to everyone he met!

 

This 15-year-old Operation Smile patient has worn a handkerchief over his face every day of his life to hide his cleft lip. However, as soon as he was notified that he would be receiving surgery, he enthusiatically removed the handkerchief and asked Operation Smile staff members to take his photo

Photos from Santa Cruz, Bolivia medical mission March 10- 18, 2016:

  • Five-month-old Andy and his mother Mariana wait to see a medical volunteer for Andy's follow-up assessment at the first day of the Operation Smile medical mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on Thursday, March 10th, 2016. (Photo by Jasmin Shan for Operation Smile)

  • Luz, a patient who received surgery when she was seven months old for her cleft lip, attends the Operation Smile medical mission for a follow-up assessment at age of 12 in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on Saturday, March 12, 2016. (Photo by Jasmin Shan for Operation Smile)

  • Maria and her younger sister Ana at the second day of the Operation Smile medical mission in Santa Cruz , Bolivia on Friday, March 11, 2016. (Photo by Jasmin Shan for Operation Smile)

  • Nurse Gloria dances during the second day of the Operation Smile medical mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on Friday, March 11, 2016. (Photo by Jasmin Shan for Operation Smile)

  • The Swedish nurse Maria with Amparao, a patient she treated three years earlier. When the little girl saw Maria, she ran to her. Amparao has come to the Operation Smile medical mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia to receive a follow-up assessment on Friday, March 11th, 2016 . (Photo by Jasmin Shan for Operation Smile)

  • Swedish nurses Maria Skaremo and Ulrika Harnstom on the first day of the Operation Smile medical mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on Thursday, March 10, 2016. (Photo by Jasmin Shan for Operation Smile)

  • Swedish nurses Maria Skaremo, Anna Jonsson, Maria Berg and Ulrika Harnstom on the second day the Operation Smile medical mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on Friday, March 11, 2016. (Photo by Jasmin Shan for Operation Smile)

 

Since 1999, Operation Smile has conducted medical programs in the cities of Cochobamba and Santa Cruz, where patients from the capital city of La Paz can access Operation Smile’s cleft lip and cleft palate services.

In addition to providing free surgical care in Bolivia, Operation Smile offers ongoing speech therapy, dentistry, and psychology in the Santa Cruz offices, and provides free consultations to around 300 patients per month.

Operation Smile's global volunteer network includes more than 80 volunteers from Bolivia, who donate their time in Bolivia and all over the world. In the past 16 years, Operation Smile has treated more than 2,900 patients in Bolivia with cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial deformities.

 

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