Striving for better care for people born with cleft lip and/or palate, in the East of England &                           in the developing world and elsewhere overseas as decided by the trustees


Contacts/Links CamSmile India Ethiopia


Working together with health professionals for a better cleft care in the UK and overseas.  Their dedication for health services is truly inspiring!    

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“My name is Anne Procter and I work in the Plastics surgery unit of Main Theatres at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. I drive to work and the infrastructure is all mapped out for me and I don’t think twice about how I get to work and when I get there I get on with my work with all the super technology available to me. I live in a world where I take many things for granted. The other day I got home and there was a power cut and it annoyed me.  Then I readdressed my thoughts and calmed down. This was because in May 2011 I went on another Operation Smile mission to Ethiopia where I and the many volunteers I worked with, constantly reminded ourselves how lucky we are for living in a country where we do not lack the basic amenities and how we take things for granted.


It was a two-week mission and Ethiopia was challenging. We arrived in Jimma and the first few days were spent on screening the patients. Then the OR (Operating room) nurses as we are called, start getting the theatres ready. This was a task in itself as our shipment (everything we need for the operations including instruments) were somewhere in the country either in customs or on the road to Jimma which was a 13 hour drive from Addis Ababa. We managed with left over supplies to start the operations as scheduled for the first couple of days. I surprised myself as to how good I became at improvising and working with so little.


We operated on 105 patients during the two-week mission. All the operations were done in one room with 3 operating tables. There were 4 plastic surgeons, 4 anaesthetists and several local nursing, dental and medical students who scrubbed up to assist. My task together with my colleague Niamh was to manage the three operating teams, keep the supplies coming and look after the patients. The Operation Smile team had about 60 volunteers, however there were just as many local and other support staff that were part of the team helping to run things smoothly.


My impressions – Challenging, because it was hot (temperature–wise) and I struggled to get a good night’s sleep, after working late (7,8 and 9pm) and that took the toll on my energy levels. We had power cuts and we ran out of water sometimes, so washing hands for scrubbing up was definitely a challenge. The autoclave broke down several times. The scrub staff disappeared and was hard to trace.

Rewarding – “seeing the smiles on not just the patient, but a family and a whole community”.  The transformation is amazing. I also got a sense of togetherness and friendship with the volunteers, not to mention the hundreds of laughs and good times with people from all over the world”                                                

ANNE PROCTER, Staff Nurse,  Addenbrooke’s Hospital NHS


Kiran’s Story (Update)