Smile is a Foundation

Ortiz-Vigón Clinic is a founder company of Smile is a Foundation. This non-profit foundation fosters, organizes and coordinates projects related to humanitarian aid in the biosanitary field. Smile is a Foundation aims to build up actions in the fields of cooperation and international development in developing countries. It is our Foundation’s desire to meet the needs of most vulnerable people with no access to free healthcare.

Foundation’s history

The Foundation is born thanks to the project Smiles for Zimbabwe, launched in 2011 by Sergio Morante and Diego Romero. It emerges with the spirit of meeting the needs of most vulnerable people with no access to healthcare in Zimbabwe.

This is how Dr. Alberto Ortiz-Vigón explains the origins of the foundation in the #ThinkingPerio magazine:

Some years ago, several of us with extensive experience in volunteering in countries such as Honduras and Nicaragua got together. One of us had a contact in Zimbabwe who conveyed us the merging need of medical care in some rural regions of the country. We went there to work in a project called Smiles for Zimbabwe. Our work was hampered at administrative level. That was the prelude to the creation of the organization, achieving that initial project to become more robust, organized and official structure like a NGO.

It has grown to become what is nowadays, a great group of health professionals with experience in the field of humanitarian cooperation, maintaining the spirit with which the foundation was born.

Sergio, Diego, Alberto, Esperanza, Alfonso… they all are the soul of Smile is a Foundation and they share the aim of betting the lives of children, youth and adults who show symptoms.

Track record and campaigns

Since its creation in 2011, 8 field campaigns have been conducted within the foundation, which leaves us on the brink of the ninth expedition this year (2018).

While the first two campaigns (2011 & 2012)  focused on treating oral problems in the towns close to the border between Hwange park and Victoria falls (Matebele Land South) with an increase in the number of team members form year to year, in 2013 the dimension of the campaign enlarged. Annual regular dental care was extended to a community which takes up an area of 250km, dental checkups for children in some of the community schools  were conducted, oral surgery and endodontic treatments were performed and conferences on oral hygiene for adults and children were held.

For 2015, the campaign involved a significant logistical and volunteer deployment of staff. The mobile clinic became active thanks to the collaboration of local volunteers. Moreover, the ophthalmologic project came into operation together with the odontology project.

The Foundation and its work has continued to grow exponentially in subsequent years.

2017's campaign numbers

This is a brief report on the 2017’s campaign:

  • 995 attended patients. We have already overcome 14.000 treated patients if we sum up all the campaigns carried out before.
  • 759 dental and optical treatments. More than 28.000 dental treatments carried out in total during these years.
  • 17 volunteer doctors.
  • 166 optical checks.
  • 500 glasses distributed. 
  • 111.000€ budget.
  • 6 optometrists, the team has tripled!
  • 17 assistants.
  • 7 local medical professionals: 2 dentists, 1 ophthalmologist and 4 nurses.

Action areas in Zimbabwe

Dental Project

Smile is a Foundation moves dentists and opticians to rural areas where people do not have access to these medical specialties through mobile dental clinics. The work of our volunteer doctors, which is carried out in schools, small clinics and camps, is crucial because they promote oral health with prevention, dental care and by organizing training courses for the local health services staff.

Optics Project

This project was launched in year 2015 thanks to Pablo Baciero (Opticalia Oca and Camino Viejo). Patients from the same area that the dental project covers were treated. Vision problems, specially myopia, presbyopia, cataracts and glaucoma received medical care. Once patients’ eyes were tested, their new glasses and sunglasses were provided.  

Forward-looking projects

A challenge for us in the medium-to-long term is to build water wells, locations of primary care and infrastructure for educational and cultural development so as to improve the living conditions of local populations. We want to make improvements in terms of sanitation, waste disposal and preventing the spread of any infectious diseases arising from lack of resources.

New challenges

Outside the African country, we want to start studying new projects in different areas and specialties, without forgetting the needs of our immediate environment. We we will start a new dental project aimed at the population sector with greater economic and social difficulties.

Special mention for the companies that collaborate with supplies as Inibsa Dental or the company Imvelo Safari Lodges, which make possible the logictic management, relocating the doctors into the different towns and hoffering them housing, as well as organizing the assembly of the clinical camps and providin all the material needed to attend the patients. In the optic project collaborated Italian company De Rigo; German, Zeiss and Spanish Briot as well as private contributions.

How can you collaborate? Contact us and we will give you information about how you can support Smile is a Foundation.