Changing smiles, changing the world through cloud technology

 |   Equipo Microsoft Latinx

Oscar Camino Toledo was born in Bogotá, Colombia with a cleft condition, a birth defect that affects one in every 500 to 750 babies worldwide. Some of these kids around the world endure cruelty and isolation for years until a surgery by Operation Smile profoundly changes their lives.

Since its founding in 1982, Operation Smile has provided free and safe surgeries in low- and middle-income countries for more than 270,000 children and young adults with cleft lip, cleft palate and other facial deformities. To ensure the high-quality work reaches as many people as possible, the global nonprofit runs a tight ship with the help of modern cloud technologies from Microsoft Philanthropies such as SharePoint to manage the complex logistics of missions, which include large teams of international volunteers, medical trainings, patient care and surgical evaluations.

Azure’s global data centers help ensure that patient data is securely stored in compliance and a new solution, with SharePoint and Power BI, has enabled Operation Smile to evaluate surgeries faster.

“Mission planning requires a tremendous amount of coordination, we used to do it on paper or in discrete documents and it was difficult at best. Today we use SharePoint to efficiently corral all the information and share it across the globe in a secure and consistent manner.” – Chris Bryant, senior vice president of enterprise applications and technology at Operation Smile

The nonprofit wants to accelerate evaluations even more and double the number of surgeries it can provide by exploring artificial intelligence to analyze photos with a facial modeling algorithm and possibly the AI-powered Microsoft Pix camera app. The software is part of Microsoft Philanthropies’ Tech for Social Impact program, which empowers nonprofits and humanitarian organizations with technology to advance their missions.

This technology has helped Operation Smile support families like Maria Maribel Toledo and her son Oscar Camino Toledo, who, seven surgeries and 23 years later, has become a vibrant college student who plays soccer, loves bodybuilding and will graduate next year with a bachelor’s degree in bilingual education.

Oscar, as many other children and young adults around the world, is grateful for the surgeries, speech therapy, orthodontia and emotional support, which his family couldn’t have afforded alone. He now wants to help other kids with cleft conditions – kids like a 12-year-old Moroccan girl who once hid at home and now attends school after the surgery gave her a new smile.

“Without exaggerating, I have Operation Smile to thank for almost everything in my life,” Oscar says. “They were there by my side all the time, through the treatment and into my social integration. I want children with cleft lip to know my story and see me as an example,” says Camino. “I would say to them not to be afraid to join Operation Smile because it is worth it. They gave me the tools and motivation to improve my life, and to live a life with higher quality.”

 

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