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Six new Operating Rooms in Zambia


As of this week, thousands of children in Zambia will have better access to safe surgery thanks to the opening of six new paediatric Operating Rooms 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 project, which was delayed for over 8 weeks due to a surge in Covid-19 cases in the country, was possible thanks to funds raised by KidsOR as well as funding from The Scottish Government, Smile Train and Baillie Gifford.

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.

KidsOR CEO David Cunningham

Why did KidsOR choose Zambia for this project?

At KidsOR we believe in measuring the impact of our Operating Rooms, which is why we appoint a Data Collector in each installation site. The KidsOR appointed data collector at UTH in Lusaka recorded data on surgical cases in the past 24 months so that we could track the difference made once the Operating Room was installed. 

The results showed an overwhelming need for paediatric surgical and anaesthetic equipment. In the past two years, almost 20 per cent of the operations went ahead without the necessary surgical resources and 40 per cent did so without anaesthetic resources. Of the recorded surgical cases, 91% were missing resources, such as diathermy equipment, excision tools and temperature and ECG monitors, in comparison to just 8% of the recorded cases missing medication.

These issues will be rectified as soon as surgeons start using the Operating Room to treat children

Africa has the greatest unmet surgical need in the world. It is also estimated that 85 per cent of children in Africa will require some kind of surgical care by the age of 15. With around 45 per cent of Zambia’s population being children, this is a country that will particularly benefit from these facilities.

Before After

Health professionals share the impact these Operating Rooms will have on children

Dr Bruce Bvulani, Consultant Paediatric Surgeon at University Teaching Hospital, said: “The renovations and re-equipping of the theatre suite is not only timely but also momentous. These new Operating Rooms will put a smile not only on the faces of the children but the surgeons as they use their new wares in a refurbished centre. On behalf of the children of Zambia, we are truly grateful to KidsOR, and we promise to make full use of the equipment for the betterment of the children.” 

Senior Medical Superintendent and Consultant Paediatrician at Arthur Davison Children’s Hospital, Dr Mwansa J Kaunda, also extended his gratitude. He added: “The new equipment and set up of theatre will improve efficiency in procedures, reduce the risk of post-operative wound infections and improve our scores during hospital performance assessment. I am so excited as I never imagined that our Operating Room could look so nice. The last time it got a touch up was in 1978.”

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