Operation Smile’s all-female team of volunteer cleft care professionals from 12 countries celebrate the close of the six-day educational and medical mission they mounted in Cebu City recently to launch “Women in Medicine” in Asia.
The multinational team conducted a one-day forum on women empowerment in the health profession followed by five days of free surgeries on 59 children with cleft lip and cleft palate at the Cebu City Medical Center.
Operation Smile co-founder and president, Kathleen Magee, flew in from the U.S. to lead the launch.
Women in Medicine is a new global initiative that seeks to encourage women to join the health care profession, and empower them to take leadership roles in their respective fields. It is also being piloted in Africa and in South America. The program was created in response to the call of the World Health Organization (WHO) for women to drive the transformational change in global health care.
Women comprise 70% of health professionals but occupy only 25% of leadership positions. WHO had said the world needs 18 million more health professionals to achieve universal health coverage. In the Philippines, the gap in health professionals is 290,000.