Why We Exist
1.75 billion children don't have access to safe surgery
This lack of surgical access, however, isn't spread evenly worldwide: 87% of these children live in low- and middle- income countries. We estimate that an additional 54 million children’s surgical procedures are needed annually to solve the global surgical crisis.
Behind this number, there are 1.75 billion children who are suffering, or even worse, dying, because of where they were born.
In these low-resource countries, the men are operated on first, then the women. If there is a slot available at the end of the day, children can be operated on. This means that many families won't get the timely surgical care their children require. These families would also have to travel long distances on little money only to be turned away at the hospital because they don't have the necessary infrastructure to care for so many children.
Children who break a leg shouldn’t live the rest of their lives in disability, babies who need simple procedures in the first hours of life shouldn’t be left to die. And children born with urological conditions shouldn’t be denied an education because they can’t access the simple operation they need.
Local surgeons know how to save a child's life, but lack the equipment and infrastructure
It's not only the lack of dedicated children's operating spaces, but also the lack of equipment and children sized surgical tools. In many of the countries we work in, there is a very limited surgical infrastructure to safely operate on children.
We have heard accounts of newborns dying in the first few hours of their life because the surgical teams only had adult-sized surgical equipment. We have also heard how children requiring emergency operations had to wait until it was warmer during the day because of lack of heating in the Operating Room. Unfortunately, there are too many stories of surgeons having the knowledge to save a child's life, but not the tools.
At Kids Operating Room, we work with Ministries of Health, hospitals and local teams to install and equip state-of-the-art children's Operating Rooms and surgical units.
Many low-income countries lack a single paediatric surgeon
In high-income countries, there is one specialist paediatric surgeon for every 47,000 children. But in low-resource countries, the same paediatric surgeon cares for over 3 million children. We believe this isn't fair.
But that's not all: the World Health organisation estimates a shortfall of 18 million healthcare workers by the end of 2030, with low- and middle-income countries being hit particularly hard.
We believe in building sustainable healthcare systems, which is why we offer scholarships to train the next generation of paediatric surgeons, who will go on to work in a KidsOR-installed Operating Room in their respective countries.
We also work with national and international Colleges of Surgeons to build better and more accessible surgical training courses.
We believe in a world where every child has equal access to safe surgery
Surgery, and especially paediatric surgery, has historically been forgotten from international financial aid, with many of the big global health players funding almost exclusively infectious diseases, such as polio or HIV.
The global health crisis will only be solved if funding is redirected away from vertical interventions into creating stronger healthcare systems, from primary care, obstetric, emergency services and, of course, surgery.
We work with organisations interested in global health to campaign for better access to healthcare for everyone, and more equitable funding models.
We believe in Surgery For All. We believe in Health for All. And won't stop until that's a reality.