Dundee char­ity to ex­tend life-sav­ing work in Africa

HEALTH: £1m fundrais­ing suc­cess will al­low Kid­sOR to carry out thou­sands of op­er­a­tions on chil­dren, trans­form­ing lives across the con­ti­nent

The Courier & Advertiser (Perth and Perthshire Edition) - - NEWS - STE­FAN MORKIS [email protected]­courier.co.uk

A Scot­tish char­ity that op­er­ates out of Dundee will carry out 12,000 life-sav­ing op­er­a­tions in Africa next year af­ter raising more than £1 mil­lion in its first year.

Kid­sOR, which aims to set up op­er­at­ing the­atres in some of the world’s poor­est coun­tries, an­nounced a seven-fig­ure in­vest­ment in sur­gi­cal care across east Africa.

Gar­reth Wood, co-founder of the char­ity, an­nounced the in­vest­ment when speak­ing at the Col­lege of Sur­geons’ an­nual con­fer­ence in Kigali, Rwanda.

The money will al­low Kid­sOR to ex­tend its life-sav­ing care to an­other six coun­tries.

The first of the new east African op­er­at­ing rooms will be in Ethiopia and will open in Fe­bru­ary.

Hospi­tals in Uganda, Zam­bia, Mozam­bique, Kenya and Zim­babwe will then ben­e­fit from the char­ity’s in­vest­ments.

Last week, Mr Wood’s wife Ni­cola an­nounced the char­ity would cre­ate eight new op­er­at­ing rooms to sup­port chil­dren in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties in the Ama­zon rain­for­est.

Mr Wood said as well as car­ry­ing out life-sav­ing op­er­a­tions, the the­atres will treat chil­dren who would other­wise go on to de­velop life­long dis­abil­i­ties.

He said: “In far too many coun­tries, chil­dren can’t ac­cess care when they need it.

“Whether a bro­ken bone or a cancer that needs ur­gent surgery, chil­dren shouldn’t die from these is­sues just be­cause the lo­cal sur­geon doesn’t have the right tools to do the job.

“Our work changes that for­ever. It’s an in­vest­ment in lo­cal peo­ple and it’s a vote of con­fi­dence in their skills as sur­geons, too.

“Over the last year we have been work­ing hard to in­stall new op­er­at­ing rooms but also to de­velop our in­tel­li­gence on where the best sur­geons are cur­rently work­ing, where we can make the big­gest dif­fer­ence and where we can have a sus­tain­able im­pact.

“This an­nounce­ment brings a real fo­cus to our work for the next year or so, al­low­ing us to start a pro­gramme of in­vest­ment that is un­ri­valled in chil­dren’s surgery across the de­vel­op­ing world.”

Mr Wood added: “In­vest­ing in surgery works. More chil­dren die from sur­gi­cally treat­able con­di­tions than do from malaria, HIV and TB com­bined. And far too many chil­dren live lives of aban­don­ment, un­able to at­tend school or in pain be­cause of a sur­gi­cally treat­able dis­abil­ity or in­jury.”

Pro­fes­sor Pankaj Jani, pres­i­dent of the Col­lege of Sur­geons of East, Cen­tral and South­ern Africa (COSECSA), said: “Our COSECSA fel­lows are some of the best sur­geons in the world.

“They are highly skilled and re­source­ful but the de­mand is over­whelm­ing. With state-of-the-art equip­ment de­signed to their needs and skills, this in­vest­ment will al­low them to trans­form care in their coun­tries.”

Work will start on the new op­er­at­ing rooms early next year and should be fin­ished by early 2020.

Kid­sOR has sur­gi­cal fa­cil­i­ties in, or in de­vel­op­ment in, Nige­ria, Sierra Leone, Burk­ina Faso, Ivory Coast, the Gam­bia, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, Nepal and south­east Asia.

All equip­ment pro­vided by Kid­sOR is shipped through its Dundee base on Kingsway East.

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