Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft-focused organization, and Lifebox, a global nonprofit that saves lives through safer surgery and anesthesia, are distributing 40 pulse oximeters to 24 healthcare facilities in the Philippines, ultimately contributing to 52,000 safer surgeries in the Philippines over the next year.
“Smile Train has worked with Lifebox for over a decade to equip hospitals with essential monitoring tools that are not only necessary for cleft surgery but can be used for other medical procedures and in treating COVID-19. While Smile Train is working toward expanding our reach in more communities, we are also looking for more ways to support and invest in our local healthcare partners,” says Kimmy Coseteng-Flaviano, Smile Train’s Vice President, South East Asia.
In 2020, Smile Train and Lifebox launched the global Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery and Anesthesia Initiative and together provided 8,800 pulse oximeters to support healthcare providers worldwide in responding to COVID-19. In 2022, the two organizations launched the Lifebox-Smile Train Pulse Oximeter to scale up access to anesthesia monitoring – to make 14 million surgeries safer. Pulse oximeters are needed to measure the blood’s oxygen level and are essential for patient monitoring during anesthesia and in intensive care.
A recent report released by Smile Train and Lifebox, “A Critical Gap: Pulse Oximetry in Low- and Middle-Income Countries,” highlighted that 15% of operating beds in low- and lower-middle-income countries lack a pulse oximeter, with 42% of recovery beds unable to provide vital monitoring after surgery.
In the Philippines, Lifebox-Smile Train Pulse Oximeters have been distributed to Marikina St. Vincent General Hospital, San Fernando Hospital in Pampanga, Allegiant Regional Care Hospital in Lapu-Lapu City, and Tebow CURE Hospital in Davao City. More partner hospitals and organizations are expected to receive the pulse oximeters in the coming months. This work is part of 1,000 pulse oximeters currently being distributed to Smile Train partner hospitals worldwide for safer anesthesia care as part of the global Smile Train-Lifebox Safe Surgery and Anesthesia Initiative.
This 2023, Smile Train Philippines celebrates a landmark of more than 75,000 cleft surgeries performed. This remarkable feat is made possible by its dedicated network of partners including Lifebox, helping improve children’s access to surgery and providing comprehensive care to cleft-affected patients nationwide.
“By partnering with Lifebox to support the medical communities that our local partners operate in, Smile Train is ensuring safer surgery for every child with a cleft across the globe,” said Flaviano. Aside from the Philippines, countries including Kenya, Somalia, and Honduras have also received these pulse oximeters.