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Charity’s Dundee warehouse ships landmark 50th operating theatre to world’s most impoverished areas

Staff at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana. with new new equipment.
Staff at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana. with new new equipment.

A Scottish charity operating out of Dundee has now shipped 50 children’s operating theatres to some of the world’s poorest areas.

Kids Operating Room (KidsOR) hit the landmark after recently installing two state-of-the-art operating rooms at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.

The region accounts for 20% of the country’s population but remarkably had no paediatric surgical facility.

Hospital staff help install the new machines.
Hospital staff help install the new machines.

It’s just the latest feat in a three-and-a-half -year mission to send operating rooms to low and middle-income countries in Africa and Latin America.

It means around 300,000 children a year now have access to safe paediatric surgery in these areas.

DC Thomson warehouse is global hub

KidsOR, founded by philanthropists Garreth and Nicola Woods, assembles and sends the equipment from its global hub within DC Thomson’s warehouse on Kingsway East.

Each theatre has 3,000 items of equipment which were tested, packed and shipped from the City of Discovery.

Mr 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, our 50th operating room, we have increased the annual capacity for safe surgery to be 30,000 life-changing operations for children every single year.”

Headquartered in Edinburgh, the charity’s mission is to tackle the global crisis in children’s surgery.

Philanthropists Nicola and Garreth Wood (pictured) launched the charity in 2018.
Philanthropists Nicola and Garreth Wood (pictured) launched the charity in 2018. KidsOR/PA Wire

Partners, surgeons, patients and numerous others across the 50 sites have all delivered messages of congratulations to the charity.

Dr Michael Amoah, 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 operating rooms 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 new rooms, such as the one recently installed in Ghana, are also given a child-friendly makeover.

“The state of the theatre was not paediatric-friendly.”

The 48-year-old added: “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.”

Mr Wood added: “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.”

The charity aims to install 120 dedicated children’s operating rooms across Africa by 2030.

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