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Official unveiling of surgical paediatric wing in Lusaka


The official opening ceremony of the paediatric surgical wing at University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia, marks the formal unveiling of the three state-of-the-art dedicated children’s Operating Rooms, which were recently installed at the hospital by Kids Operating Room in partnership with Smile Train and the Scottish Government. This install will have a huge positive impact on the delivery of timely surgical care for children in Zambia.

Speaking about how these ORs will benefit Zambian children, UTH Medical Superintendent Dr. Charles Mutemba said: “We celebrate this wonderful transformation to the children’s theatre infrastructure. This is in line with the Government’s desire to ensure provision of quality healthcare to all its vulnerable children.”

Rosemary Mugwe, KidsOR Africa Director was able to attend the event and see first-hand how this install will enhance the skills of medical professionals: “We are keen on growing the number of qualified surgeons providing the much-needed skills among the underserved communities.

The theatres will become a centre of excellence for training the next generation of specialists in paediatric surgery in Zambia.

Rosemary Mugwe, Africa Director at KidsOR

Consultant Paediatric Surgeon Dr Bruce Bvulani hailed the upgrade adding that the theatres enhanced the general wellbeing of patients and healthcare professionals saying, “Working in the upgraded theatre boosts the morale of the surgical team not only aesthetically but also using more child-friendly equipment. The colourful artwork on the walls also creates a calming environment for the children.” 

Speaking during the unveil of the Theatre, Smile Train Vice-President and Regional Director for Africa Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi underscored the need to prioritize safer surgery in public healthcare systems through provision of adequate infrastructure and trained personnel. 

“Recent research has advocated for improvement in paediatric surgery by prioritising teaching of surgical skills and providing training, equipment and supplies. Smile Train invests in uplifting surgical care at local community level through its longstanding model of partnerships.” noted Mrs. Obi.

How partnering with Smile Train is improving children’s lives in Africa

Given the anticipated population growth of Africa, there will be a significant need for paediatric surgical interventions. Our long-term collaboration with Smile Train will ultimately result in more than 30 paediatric Operating Rooms provided across countries in Africa over the next five years, treating more than 12,000 children. 

The partnership has also birthed a Paediatric Surgery Scholarship training and education of 40 paediatric surgeons across Africa in partnership with the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).

Our work in Zambia

Our work in Zambia did not end there. We also installed a further three Operating Rooms in Arthur Davison Hospital in Ndola, making this our largest ever project in a single country at the one time. 

Given that 45% of Zambia’s population are children, this is a country that will particularly benefit from these facilities. The installation of 6 dedicated children’s operating theatres can ensure that surgeons have the right equipment to save thousands of children’s lives for years to come.

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