Charity to ship 30 pediatric operating rooms to Africa this year
A health charity is on track to ship everything needed for 30 fully equipped pediatric operating rooms to Africa this year.
Kids Operating Room (KidsOR) works directly with local surgeons and their teams to transform hospital spaces into operating rooms dedicated to children’s surgery.
It focuses its efforts on countries where pediatric surgical services are non-existent or extremely weak, where children die from treatable conditions such as appendicitis or complications from fractures.
Staff at its Dundee depot work to assemble the rooms, which typically feature over 3,000 items and are individually designed by biomedical engineers working with colleagues overseas to ensure that every aspect will meet the long-term needs of local surgeons. .
In recent months, containers of equipment have been delivered to countries such as Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal, Zambia and Nigeria.
Dave Tipping, Director of Global Operations and Head of Dundee Warehouse and Laboratory, said: “The team here is incredibly engaged. We are particularly focused on providing widely researched and tested rooms that will provide maximum benefit to the receiving hospital, its surgical teams and thousands of families – often desperate.
“We have had to adapt considerably over the last 15 months because it was much more difficult, if not impossible, to get to the places where the projects are delivered.
“Everything we do is provide a lasting solution. We don’t build operating rooms with specialized equipment that depends on our long-term support.
“We are here to make sure that surgeons on the African continent, as well as those in countries where we have previously worked in South America, are able to use every element that saves and changes lives in the long term.”
The charity said about two billion children around the world do not have access to safe surgery and that each year more children die from not having had the surgery they need than from the malaria, HIV and tuberculosis combined.
KidsOR was founded by Nicola and Garreth Wood in 2018 and aims to install 120 pediatric operating rooms across Africa by 2030.
Nicola Wood said: “The last few months have had a galvanizing effect on our team. We have now given more than 36,000 children access to life-changing or life-saving care.
“Globally, more children die from conditions that can easily be treated with surgery than from HIV, malaria and tuberculosis combined. We are helping to change that by providing the equipment and training necessary for pediatric surgery.
“Yet there is still so much to do – and we won’t stop until we accomplish our mission – a world where every child has equal access to safe surgery. Every container leaving our Dundee hub is one more step. “
The focus isn’t purely clinical – KidsOR also makes sure its signature colorful animals adorn the walls of each of the operating rooms it sets up to help children feel calm and reassured when they enter surgery. .
The charity, which has bases in Edinburgh, Dundee and Nairobi, said more than 36,000 children have gained access to life-saving or life-saving care through the work of KidsOR.
It also funds the training of surgeons and anesthesiologists and works with national ministries of health to develop sustainable health services.