Operation Smile and AbbVie: Partners in Creating Healthier Lives for Children with Cleft

In the Philippines, 5-year-old Niño is playful, energetic and makes everyone around him laugh with his games and smiles. His mother says she’s happy. Niño has been surrounded by a loving family who tries not to treat him differently because of his facial cleft.

mex_2015_130_angel-rabi-ruiz_031_webRecently, Niño’s mother brought him to the Operation Smile medical mission site in South Cotabato province. From the moment Niño entered the medical mission site, he let his personality shine through the language barrier as he connected with the medical volunteers. He even helped the other children laugh, easing their nerves around being in a new place and fears of surgery.

Even though Niño is only five, he didn’t show any fear about going into the operating room, joking and laughing with medical volunteers throughout the medical mission. When his surgery was complete, his mother was overjoyed and thanked the Operation Smile team endlessly.

Niño and thousands of other children treated by Operation Smile every year are a testament to the importance of safe, well-timed and effective surgical care. Operation Smile would not be able to deliver this care without the long-term support from Abbott that began in 1993, and more recently, from AbbVie since January 2013.

Operation Smile received its first in-kind donation of the anesthetic agent (Sevoflurane) from Abbott in 1993. Since March 2002,ar_2009_pg_21_c-4_web Operation Smile began using Sevoflurane on every international medical mission. In 2015 alone, Sevoflurane has been used in nearly 15,000 surgeries for patients worldwide.

According to J. Lindsay Tomberg, Director of Global Philanthropy for Operation Smile, the in-kind donation of Sevoflurane from AbbVie speaks to their corporate philosophy of patient-centered innovation. “Without AbbVie’s continued generosity and focus on the patient, we would not be able to maintain our global standards of care, putting our patients first in everything we do.”

Operation Smile has adapted WHO (World Health Organization) and ASA (American Society of Anesthesiologists) standards to enable delivery of safe and effective surgical care. Ann Matz-Tirado, Program Consultant for Corporate Responsibility for AbbVie, has been our advocate since 2005 working tirelessly with the Operation Smile team on Sevoflurane procurement. In 2012, Matz-Tirado had the opportunity to attend an Operation Smile medical mission in Guadalajara, Mexico and remarked that it was a transformational experience.

mex_2015_079_elideth_ucl_054_web“Seeing how the staff interacted with the children and their families at the mission site was incredibly touching. The staff was fully engaged with the families and children making everyone feel comfortable before, during, and after surgery. Their passion for the children they were operating on was obvious. The reunion of the families with their child after surgery was quite moving. Being able to see Sevoflurane utilized during surgery was a great experience. The smiles of the parents and especially the children who were being treated was the highlight of the visit. Knowing our partnership has such a positive effect on so many children and families in need is a true blessing,” said Matz-Tirado.

Operation Smile believes that every child deserves exceptional surgical care. For more than 20 years, corporate partner Abbott, and now AbbVie, have shared that vision. On behalf of the thousands of patient like Niño, we thank AbbVie for their compassion, generosity, and collaboration.