Operation Restore Hope: Transforming the lives of children in the Philippines

operation restore hope

On Thursday, Operation Restore Hope, a team of 25 volunteer medical professionals, are heading for the Philippines.

They will carry out the repair of cleft lips and palates, facial disfigurement and other deformities for children who cannot afford medical care.

This is the 20th year in which such a team has visited the Philippines.

Health clinics throughout the year publicise missions and promote the date and location of screening days to the community, prospective patients and their parents.

The mission will last six days. There will be three operating tables.

The working day will begins at 7:30 in the morning and often not end until eight or nine at night.

Last year the team performed:

  • 32 lip repairs;
  • 39 palate repairs;
  • 5 nose repairs;
  • 13 dental works;
  • 32 pharyngoplasty and other procedures.

Much of the operating room equipment they use is brought with them from New Zealand and/or donated.

Throughout the week they also teach and develop the skills of the local medical staff with whom they work.

Auckland based Dr Tristan De Chalain, a paediatric and craniofacial surgeon has been on every one of its 20 missions.

He says “The payoff for us comes when you can hand back to a parent a baby that two hours before had an unoperated cleft, and now looks like a normal child with a few stitches in their lip.

“The look in that parent’s eyes is worth rubies and I can’t describe it.”

Operation Restore Hope is a not-for-profit, non-governmental, non-sectarian charity conceived by renowned Australian cosmetic surgeon Dr Darryl Hodgkinson in 1992.


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