About Us

Our Mission:

To provide optimal surgical, anaesthetic, medical and nursing care to infants and children of low- and middle-income countries.

Our Vison:

We believe that all children deserve compassionate and expert healthcare which should be delivered in their own environment.

Our Values:

Altruism – Respect – World-class Standards.

Our Story

Operation Childlife (OCL) originated from a response to a request from the Christina Noble Children’s Foundation (CNCF) in 2004, to upskill and mentor paediatric doctors and nurses in Children’s Hospital Number 2, Ho Chi Minh City, and to carry out a number of complex surgeries.  OCL has, to date expanded to Tanzania, Mongolia and Jordan.

Over 100 senior-level consultants have travelled (as volunteers) for one and two week missions, conducting complex surgeries, providing pre- and post-operative support and guidance and training, mentoring and developing their local colleagues on a continual basis. The countries and regions we visit lack, or have limited expertise in, key disciplines such as paediatric cardiology, oncology, orthopaedics, intensive care, anaesthesia, interventional radiology, urology, plastic surgery, ear, nose and throat surgery and related nursing care. Collectively our paediatric partners have a fast growing catchment of 45 million people, with 15 million under the age of 5 years. 


First visit to Children’s Hospital 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam


First visit to Muhimbili National Hospital, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Irish Aid grant programme begins


Cardiac Programme opens in Children Hospital 2, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Operation Childlife incorporated in Ireland


Preliminary field trip to Cambodia
Irish Aid grant programme begins


Memorandum of Agreement between King Hamad University Hospital, Kingdom of Bahrain, OCL and City children’s Hospital, Vietnam


Four new members nominated to OCL Board


First visit to the Jordanian Red Crescent Hospital and the Za’tarai Refugee camp, Amman
First visit to the National Centre for Maternal and Child Health, Ulan Bataar, Mongolia

Strategy 2023 – 2027

To view a copy of the Operation Childlife Strategy 2023 – 2027 please click here.


Operation Childlife is a registered Charity, CHY number 20008, CRA number 20079048 and a company limited by guarantee not having a share capital, registered in Dublin Ireland, company number 498723.

Operation Childlife is compliant with the Irish Charities Governance Code.  For more information on the Charities Regulatory Authority and the Charities Governance Code please click here. To see our publicly listed information on the Charities Regulatory Authority website, including copies of our audited accounts please click here.

Education, Mentoring and Support

  • Consultation at the pre-operative and post-operative levels in the form of Pre- and Post-op support
  • PASS (Paediatric Acute Surgical Scenarios) – a taught 3-day course to recognize and treat the acutely compromised child.  OCL will bring this course to Tanzania, Mongolia and Jordan in 2023
  • Student Observers.  Nursing and medical students from RCSI Bahrain to participate in all clinical site visits in Vietnam and Tanzania and will expand to include Mongolia and Jordan.
  • OCL Virtual.  This service is under development, will formally consolidate current consultations, and will provide an ongoing virtual service for all our host institutions.
  • Since 2004, approximately 40 doctors, surgeons, nurses and perfusionists have been brought to Ireland for periods of 3-6 months to train in cardiology, cardiac surgery and paediatric surgery.

Global Collaborations

OCL has, or is in the process of developing, a number of collaborations with international medical organisations.  Such collaborations are evaluated and agreed against the core mission and values of OCL, ensuring that all collaborative activities enhance and develop our mission while avoiding mission drift or the stretching of core resources inappropriately.

RCSI and RCSI Bahrain

Medical and Nursing Student Participants

Research and Travel Scholarships

RCSI provides travel funding to assist volunteers

Christina Noble Children’s Fund

Vietnam and Mongolia visits.

Their Lives Matter (Tanzania)

Clinical visits, pre-and post-operative support and ongoing collaboration.

Red Crescent / International Red Cross

Jordan – clinical visits as well as assistance in refugee campus.

Rotary Club Italy

Funding support for clinical visits.

Scholarships and Research

A five-year (2022 – 2026) clinical travel fellowship programme has been agreed with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI).  The fellowships will be open to members of the medical community in Ireland, providing an individual with a unique opportunity to complete a placement on an Operation Childlife medical mission providing paediatric surgical care.  This is scheduled to open in 2023.