Australian Embassy
The Philippines

MR110908 Operation Rainbow

Australian Medical Mission giving dignity and hope to disfigured children

A team of medical professionals from Australia will be in Manila to conduct a week-long medical mission to help put the smile back on the faces of Filipino children with severe facial deformities.

Dubbed Operation Rainbow, the Australian surgical mission will commence at the General Malvar Medical Foundation in Quezon City on 14 to 19 September.

Since 1986, Operation Rainbow has been sending skilled volunteer Oral and Plastic Surgeons, Anaesthetists and Nurses on medical missions to countries where cranio-facial deformities are largely untreated.

These missions continue to hold a high priority within the organisation, giving dignity and hope to children who would otherwise remain disfigured for life.

The mission provides all medical personnel, equipment, medicines and support materials with the hospital providing the operating theatres, support staff and recovery ward, this allows for each surgery to be performed at no cost to the children or their families.

In the Philippines, one in 300 babies is born with a cleft defect. This defect grossly deforms the face, leaving a gaping hole where the upper lip and roof of the mouth should be. There is currently an estimated 80,000 children with un-repaired cleft defects living in the Philippines today.

With the expense of corrective surgery, the vast majority of these children and their families are destined to live as social outcasts. Often unable to speak, smile, or eat without discomfort, they are not accepted by their peers, suffer from low self-esteem and acute embarrassment and do not always participate in school.

Many patients are notified of the surgery through publicity via print media and radio. Families often travel for days to be seen and treated by the Operation Rainbow team. All patients are pre-screened by the hospital for the complexity of their case, medical history, and identification. A final screening process is performed by the Anaesthetist and the Surgeon to ensure that the patients are healthy enough to physically undergo the chosen surgery. This results in a little medical miracle for each child with a bigger chance for a better future ahead.

“A hundred years from now, it will not matter how much money I made, the sort of house I lived in or the kind of car I drove only that I made a difference in the life of a child,” Wilma R. Dunne OAM, President Operation Rainbow Australia Limited.

For more information on Operation Rainbow Australia logon to or for the current Philippines mission contact Cheryl Wong, ANZA Charity Manager at [email protected]