Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, collaborated with Operation Smile for the charity’s 25th anniversary medical mission to Vietnam.
‘The Next Era of Smiles’ mission was Operation Smile’s biggest ever in Asia, providing more than 5,000 smiles to children born with facial deformities or requiring dental treatment.
Volunteers from Etihad Airways’ Vietnam and Abu Dhabi offices assisted patients during surgery pre–screening sessions and distributed blankets and quilts which the airline had donated. Some patients travelled from nearby provinces, in some cases travelling for days, in the hope of receiving this free surgery.
Etihad Airways’ General Manager Vietnam, Frederic Huynh–Quan-Dat said the airline was proud to support Operation Smile as part of its corporate social responsibility program.
“Operation Smile plays an important role in the local community by offering safe, quality surgical care in places where access to surgery would not ordinarily be available.
“Our hope is that these corrective surgeries will improve the physical, mental and social well-being of each child who was treated.”
Operation Smile’s Vice President for Development in Asia Viet Nguyen thanked Etihad Airways for contributing to a successful mission.
“The Next Era of Smiles is proof that small acts of humanity can make a big difference. Our surgeries take as little as 45 minutes and can change the life of a child with a facial deformity.
“The mission also made an important contribution to building a self-sufficient local medical team. Volunteer medical practitioners from more than 26 countries around the world including the United Arab Emirates, United States, Australia and South America passed on valuable skills and training to Vietnam-based practitioners.”
Operation Smile is an international children’s medical charity that performs cleft lip and cleft palate surgery, and delivers post-operative and ongoing medical therapies to children in more than 60 countries. Operation Smile has provided more than 33,000 free medical procedures in Vietnam since its first inception in 1989.