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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Operation Restore Hope Australia?
Operation Restore Hope Australia is an Australian based surgical charity founded by Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Darryl Hodgkinson, which provides aid to less privileged children in the Philippines with birth defects and deformities such as cleft lip and palate, burns and tumours of the skin.

Where does Operation Restore Hope Australia operate?
Operation Restore Hope Australia began in 1994 at the Cebu City Medical Center in Cebu City. Since then it has operated annually at Lapu Lapu District Hospital on Mactan Island in Cebu. It also began operations in Manila in 2001 at Paranaque Community Hospital and then in 2005 moved its annual surgical missions in Manila to the President Diosdado Macapagal Memorial Medical Center in Caloocan. In 2006 annual missions to a second hospital in Cebu, Vincent Sotto Hospital, commenced as well.

How much does Operation Restore Hope Australia do?
Since 1994 Operation Restore Hope Australia has operated on more than 1,300 persons with cleft lip & palate, burn or tumours or ulcers of the skin. We have grown from performing 17 cases in our first year to nearly 200 per annum and expect to exceed that number in 2008.

Who does Operation Restore Hope Australia operate on?
While it is of course better to repair defects as early as possible (our youngest patient in the Philippines ever being 3 months old) we try to accommodate everyone we can help. We do not turn people away. If a patient is not well enough to have surgery, it is our goal through early screening to help the patient be ready in time for the mission through nutritional programs or by getting medication to control problems such as asthma and tuberculosis. We only operate on persons who have been vetted by community social workers to be persons in need.

Other services of Operation Restore Hope Australia.
For many years Operation Restore Hope Australia has provided the volunteer services not only of highly qualified surgeons, anaesthetists and nurses but has included physical check-ups both pre and post-operatively by highly qualified paediatric intensivists and otolaryngologists (ear, nose and throat doctors) as well. Since 2001 Operation Restore Hope Australia has incorporated a highly successful dental program which not only assists the surgeons but provides a further service to the indigent children. In 2007 we were fortunate to be able to have speech pathology offered to our patients in Manila as well.

Where do the volunteers come from?
The surgeons and anaesthetists come from all over the world including Australia, New Zealand, United States, Germany, UK, Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. The nurses are all predominantly Australian or Filipino/Australian nurses although some have been funded from overseas. These talented volunteers work with our Filipino counterparts in the hospitals and communities serviced by Operation Restore Hope Australia to provide the care needed for our special children.



Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate  

What is cleft lip and palate?
A cleft lip or palate is caused due to the failure of the oral structures (lip and palate (or roof of the mouth)) to close and form normally prior to the 12th week of pregnancy.

How many children in the Philippines have a cleft lip & palate?
It is estimated that there are 250,000 children and adults alike waiting for cleft lip or palate repair.

Why are there so many cleft lips and palates in the Philippines?
There is an unusually high number in the Philippines due to genetics and malnutrition. Less mobility amongst the less fortunate as well as poorer health allows this gene to flourish.


Dollars and Sense!  

How much does it cost to help/sponsor a child?
The average cost of an operation is about $ 500 AUD. The cost is kept so low due to the amount of volunteer effort we have.

Where does the money come from?
Most of the donations to Operation Restore Hope Australia come from individuals. Donations range from $10 to $10,000! Every cent counts. Most of our donations from companies are donations in kind: medical supplies we need or services we require such as printing, accounting, etc.

Where does the money go?
Every cent that is donated to Operation Restore Hope Australia goes toward purchasing medical supplies and equipment that is used for our children. We also use funds to improve and renovate the hospitals and to train the local staff to care for our kids. No money at all that is donated goes to salaries or administration – unlike most charities.

Are my donations tax-deductible?
Yes! Donations of $2 or more are tax deductible to the Operation Restore Hope Philippines Relief Fund. The fund is tax deductible under subsection 30-85(2) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1997 as a developing country relief fund.



We Need Your Help!  

How can I help?
There are many ways you can help. First of all, become a member. Membership costs a mere $20 per year or lifetime membership is available for $100. There is no better way to say that you believe in helping others than being a part of a group that does!

Of course you can always assist in donating time, money or medical supplies. Everyone has something they can donate from a talent for a fundraiser to a raffle or auction item or even just a few hours telling your friends about this wonderful work and getting them to become donors and members too! Every positive thought and cent counts.


The Future  

Does Operation Restore Hope Australia have any vision for the future?
While the problem of hundreds of thousands of cleft lips and palates may seem too daunting to even tackle, Operation Restore Hope Australia has a vision of how we can create a program that may change the way early birth defects and deformities are screened and treated in the Philippines. We hope that in working with our local Filipino partners through the immunisation centres that we can create a register of birth defects in a child’s early months. With this information we can target public education in the communities to which we have made a commitment (Lapu Lapu, Paranaque and Caloocan), increase training and equipping of local surgeons as well as our teams so that no child in the future should have to begin school with a cleft lip or palate.

  Phone: +61 (2) 9362 7480 | Email: ORHA@operationrestorehope.org  
  © Operation Restore Hope 2006. All rights reserved.