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From Dundee to Uganda: charity to transform lives of thousands of children

A Scottish charity that operates out of Dundee will carry out 12,000 life-saving operating 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 Surgeon’s 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 next year.

Hospitals in Uganda, Zambia, Mozambique, Kenya and Zimbabwe will then benefit form 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 currently has surgical facilities in, or in development in, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, The Gambia, Ecuador, Peru, Haiti, Nepal, and South East Asia.

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