Operation Smile Malawi is excited to announce that it has successfully conducted its eighth medical mission. The mission happened between July 26 – August 3. This was the first time that Operation Smile Malawi had a mission at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.  Operation Smile Malawi reached a milestone during this mission by creating the 1000th Smile. The medical team was wonderfully supported by the hospital management which donated wards, operating room space and countless employees from the hospital who supported in various ways. Our wonderful team of medical volunteers screened 237 patients and provided free life changing surgery to a total of 115 children and adults. In total, 168 procedures were performed. The next mission is scheduled to begin on 18 – 26 October, 2018 at Kamuzu Central Hospital.

If you know of a patient that needs cleft lip or cleft palate surgery, do not hesitate to contact us. Please see the “Contact Us” page for more information.

Nutrition Programs

Access to surgical care including cleft surgery is directly linked with a child’s nutritional status. In Malawi, 48% of children under five years, including those with cleft, are estimated to be chronically undernourished and nearly a quarter of those die because of malnutrition. Children born with cleft lip and cleft palate are even more likely to suffer from malnutrition due to difficulties in feeding. This fact unfortunately denies them the available access to life-changing, safe surgical care provided freely by Operation Smile. The result is continued suffering and ultimate child deaths. 

Our Intervention:
In an effort to increase access to free and safe cleft surgery for all children, Operation Smile Malawi has embarked on a nutrition program with technical support from the Ministry of Health.

Our program aims to:

  • Educate mothers on specific feeding techniques for children with cleft.
  • Link up with district hospital personnel to monitor the nutrition status of all children registered with cleft in their district and provide the necessary nutritional care.
  • Conduct periodical field visits to families of these children to ensure that their parents and guardians provide the care needed.
MWI_2019_Llongwe_Nurse_Jackie Matthews_
PACU Nurse Jackie Matthews and Pre/Post Nurse Emily Silcox, United Kingdom with patient no 182 on day two of screening. Operation Smile’s 2019 mission to Kazumu Central Hospital, Lilongwe. Kazumu Central Hospital,  4th - 13th April. Malawi.  (Operation Smile Photo - Zute Lightfoot)

Training & Education

Training and education is not just something we do – it’s at the heart of everything we do. It happens on every engagement through the exchange of ideas and knowledge among our medical specialists from diverse backgrounds with varied levels of expertise. Together we have the same goal: improve how surgical care is delivered while empowering local communities.

Locally, we have trained over 360 medical professionals through a variety of programs from the Cleft Surgeon Training Program, American Heart Association courses to Mission-Based Education. These training programs do not only promote sustainability but also promote multicultural bonding through exchange of ideas.

Between November 27-December 1, Operation Smile Malawi conducted provider trainings for Basic Life Support (BLS) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) at Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH). 46 Medical practitioners from Mzuzu Central Hospital, Kamuzu Central Hospitals, Zomba Central Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital and Mzimba District Hospital took part in the life saving training to which they all successfully passed. 

MWI_2017_Zomba_Student Group_
(The Malawi student team photo has been approved for social media use by Libby Durnwald.) The U.S. and South African students and sponsors pose for a group photo during the medical mission in Zomba, Malawi, in August 2017

Student Programs

At Operation Smile, we believe an investment in students is an investment in the future. Focus on youth leadership has been an integral part of our organization since inception. The youth today are our future. Students have the opportunity to engage in local Malawi based programs through fundraising, advocacy campaigns, starting student clubs and in turn gain leadership, service, and mentorship opportunities. 

Bishop Mackenzie International (BMI) Student Club

BMI student club was established in November of 2017. With an ever growing number of participants, the club has successfully been involved in awareness and fundraising. Operation Smile Malawi is keen to establish student clubs throughout the country. If you are interested in starting a student club at your school or becoming involved in other capacities, please contact us.


Operation Smile Malawi, through our student program, is proud to introduce an in-office health monitoring exercise dubbed “B-Fit”.  The program is one of the many initiatives that our Student Program has in place with the purpose of fundraising to support children born with cleft. The first exercise was conducted on 23rd July, 2017 at St Michael’s and All Angels Church while the second exercise was conducted on 7th October at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. The program has helped to reduce sudden loss of valuable human resources among the country’s productive age group and we hope to enroll the program to the rest of the districts. 

A child’s cleft lip or cleft palate can be repaired for as little as 45 minutes. All of our supporters give renewed hope to children and families around the world.