Dundee-based organisation works across the world
A Scottish charity that provides safe surgery for children in the world’s poorest countries is celebrating the installation of its 50th operating room.
Kids Operating Room (KidsOR), which was founded by husband-and-wife Garreth and Nicola Wood in 2018, has created the capacity for more than 30,000 children a year to access safe surgery.
The charity’s 50 operating rooms span low- and middle-income countries in Africa and Latin America.
The installation of the 50th was at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, in Kumasi, Ghana. The region accounts for 20% of the country’s population and yet, until today, had no paediatric surgical facility.
KidsOR has equipped two state-of-the-art paediatric operating rooms within the hospital. Each has more than 3,000 items of equipment which were tested, packed and shipped from the charity’s base in Dundee.
To celebrate the 50th landmark, partners, surgeons, patients and numerous others all delivered messages of congratulations to the charity.
Philanthropist and father-of-two Garreth Woods, co-founder and chairman of KidsOR, said: “This is a particularly proud day for Nicola and myself and the rest of our dedicated team here at KidsOR. When we started Kids Operating Room, we did so to give every child access to safe surgery.
“This is a remarkable achievement since our inception in 2018, particularly as for nearly half of this time we have been living with a global pandemic. By installing this, we have increased the annual capacity for safe surgery to be 30,000 life-changing operations for children every single year.
“Our vision is a world where every child can access care they need so that common conditions such as appendicitis or a broken leg do not have to result in a child’s death or a lifetime of disability.
“We achieved a great deal since starting the charity, however, for us this is just the beginning. By 2030, we aim to have installed 120 dedicated children’s operating rooms across Africa, providing essential surgery to more than 635,000 children”
Dr Michael Amoah, 48, was born in Kumasi, Ghana, and has been working at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital since 2003. Dr Amoah, who is a senior specialist paediatric surgeon and the Head of the Paediatric Surgery Unit, said: “Before the new ORs were installed, we did not have a dedicated operating room for paediatric surgery, so we had to compete with adults, meaning we were only able to do around 40-45 paediatric procedures in a month. Most of these were emergencies.
“The state of the theatre was not paediatric-friendly. We had to use adult-sized tools and equipment to operate on small children. I believe the KidsOR Operating Rooms will provide a safe environment for our patients and will shorten the waiting time for both electives and emergencies, thus reducing complications and mortality.
And Dr Amoah added: “I pursued medicine out of passion to help the sick to get appropriate medical care, and I will now be able to do that to the best of my ability thanks to KidsOR and the new operating rooms.”