ZAMBIA – Thousands of children in Zambia now have better access to safe surgery with the opening of six new pediatric Operating Rooms courtesy of global health charity Kids Operating Room (KidsOR).
KidsOR, a Scottish global charity with bases in Edinburgh, Dundee and Nairobi, works to ensure that all children around the world have access to safe surgery.
The charity also funds the training of paediatric surgeons and anaesthesia providers and estimates that more than 43,000 children have accessed life-changing or life-saving care via one of the 35 Operating Rooms they have installed since 2018.
The six new Operating Rooms in Zambia are located at University Teaching Hospital (UTH), in Lusaka, and in Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital (ADCH), in Ndola, with each hospital hosting three separate Operating Rooms.
The Scottish Government provided £45,000 of funding to assist with the refurbishment, re-equipping and retraining of staff at the paediatric surgical facilities at UTH.
“I am proud that KidsOR has installed and equipped six Operating Rooms across the two hospitals. This is our largest project in a single country at the one time and will ensure that surgeons have the right equipment to save thousands of children’s lives for years to come. With around 45 per cent of Zambia’s population being children, this is a country that will particularly benefit from these facilities,” David Cunningham, CEO of KidsOR, said.
KidsOR collated data on surgical cases in the past 24 months at UTH so that it could track the difference made once the Operating Room was installed.
The charity identified that in the past two years, almost one in five of the operations that went ahead did so without the necessary surgical equipment and 40 per cent went ahead missing the necessary anesthetic equipment.
These issues will be rectified as soon as surgeons start using the newly installed Operating Rooms to treat children.
“This latest project forms an important part of the KidsOR ‘Africa to 2030’ plan which will see us create 120 centres of excellence across Sub-Sahara Africa, each with world-class, state-of-the-art dedicated Operating Rooms for children. We aim to ensure that every child can access safe surgery when they need it,” Mr Cunningham added.
There will be an increased capacity and ability to care for more paediatric patients considering the hospital serves the northern part of the country. This means expanded services and more treatment options at the hospital, hence improved quality of health for children.
What’s more, the new equipment and set up of theatre will improve efficiency in procedures, reduce the risk of post-operative wound infections. The renovations and re-equipping of the theatre suite is not only timely but also momentous.