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Paediatric operating room opening in Kakuma refugee camp
by BBC News

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Kids Operating Room, the charity founded by Garreth and Nicola Wood have announced at the World Economic Forum, Davos, that they will supply, install and equip the paediatric operating room to the Kakuma camp in North West of Kenya. The camp is home to over 190,000 refugees, around 40,000 are children.

The announcement follows a call from Senior Advisor to the United Nations Agency for Refugees Prince Jamie de Bourbon de Parme of a desperate need for provision of children’s surgery in the refugee camp.

The paediatric operating room will enable children in the camp to have access to paediatric surgery for the first time. KidsOR plan to have the operating room up and running within the next six months.

The Kakuma camp is the largest refugee camp in Northern Kenya. More than half of the people in the camps are women and children.

Scottish philanthropist’s Garreth and Nicola Wood founded KidsOR when they learned of the huge numbers of children who die every year because they have no access to safe surgery.

Over two billion children lack access to surgical services and more children die every year from surgically treatable injuries than die from malaria, HIV and TB combined.

The charity saves children’s lives by supplying and fitting out paediatric operating rooms and providing training for paediatric surgeons. To date KidsOR have installed 25 paediatric operating rooms in Africa and South America. The equipment is shipped from their warehouse in Dundee. Over 16,000 operations have been carried out on children and 250,000 years of disability prevented.

Speaking today at Davos, Founder of KidsOR Garreth Wood said:

“Nicola and I are so proud to be announcing today at Davos, this project at the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. This operating room will make essential care available to tens of thousands of children. Children who are in refugee camps are no less deserving of the surgery that they need.”

He continued: “World Health Organisation figures now say two billion children around the world cannot access the essential surgical surgery they need.“

Nicola and I are parents. Our own children are very lucky because they were born in the UK and have required surgical intervention, so we know of the pain and anguish on not just the child, but the parents, families and communities.

“We’re both incredibly proud to be able to facilitate this opportunity, we’re surprising ourselves with what we’ve achieved in the last two years, but we are working very hard to make it happen.”

Paediatric surgeon, KidsOR advisory member and WEF Young Global Leader, Neema Kaseje said:

“There is a huge and desperate need for a paediatric surgery facility at this camp, and in many more camps around the world. I am proud that KidsOR have pledged to get children in Kakuma access to the safe surgery they so badly need.

“Africa is a focus because Africa hosts more than 26 percent of the world’s refugee population.

Usually in these settings you would find there isn’t any equipment for children or infrastructure that is adapted to children, therefore providing surgical services for children in these settings is very difficult.

“It’s great that KidsOR has taken the lead in this area and this could actually serve as a model for other humanitarian contexts beyond Africa.”

KidsOR held an event at Davos to deliver their message that no child should die or be disabled from lack of access to safe surgery. Garreth and Nicola Wood presented to a panel of high-profile guests about the work the Edinburgh based charity.

Read the story on BBC News Tayside and Central Scotland.

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