SMILE Train, the world’s largest slots-focused charity, and Scottish charity Kids Operating Room (KidsOR) have announced a major milestone in their global partnership.
Thirteen pediatric operating theaters in ten African countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Cameroon, Kenya and Zambia, have been transformed into state-of-the-art operating theaters for pediatric surgery, providing essential and life-saving surgical care to thousands of children. Two other operating theaters should be transformed in the coming weeks, in Mozambique and Ethiopia.
A cleft is the most common facial difference worldwide, affecting around 1 in 700 babies. In the UK, cleft repair surgery is performed within the first 12 months of a baby’s life by the National Health Department (NHS). However, 1.75 billion children worldwide do not have access to safe surgical care when they need it. The partnership between Smile Train and KidsOR aims to solve this problem by providing surgeons and their teams with the infrastructure and training needed to transform child care in their own country.
Based in Smile Train and KidsOR partner hospitals across Africa, each state-of-the-art pediatric operating room includes 3,000 specialist pediatric operating equipment to ensure safe surgery for children.
The operating rooms are designed to transform the often intimidating environment into a welcoming, calm and reassuring space for children, with colorful wall decoration of animals, trains and balloons. Kids OR’s specialized team of architects and biomedical engineers designs each operating room to suit the specific needs of the hospital and surgical team.
The installation of each operating room will facilitate the capacity of 600 operations each year. In the past nine months since the partnership began, Smile Train and KidsOR have created an incredible annual capacity of 9,000 life-changing operations for children across Africa.
Ian Vallance, manager at Smile Train UK, said:
“Over the past two decades, Smile Train has enabled local healthcare professionals to provide safe, high-quality cleft surgery and ongoing cleft care to more than 1.5 million of the world’s most vulnerable children. vulnerable to the world. Despite the difficult context of COVID-19, the partnership between Smile Train and KidsOR continues to grow stronger. The newly installed operating rooms for pediatric surgeries make such a difference not only for our cleft heroes, but also for their families, the hospital and its skilled medical team.
David Cunningham, Managing Director of KidsOR, said:
“Lack of access to safe surgery is a global problem affecting billions of children. More children die from surgically treatable diseases than from malaria, tuberculosis and HIV combined. This means that in low-income countries, conditions such as appendicitis are life-threatening and a broken leg can mean lifelong disability. KidsOR and Smile Train are transforming the way children can access surgery by installing state-of-the-art children’s operating rooms and training surgical teams to work there. We work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Health, hospitals and surgical teams in each country to create a sustainable infrastructure that builds long-term capacity.
The two charities share a long-standing commitment to increasing access to pediatric surgical and anesthetic care through a sustainable and empowering model, which helps strengthen health systems in the country. Through this partnership, Smile Train and KidsOR will work together to locate Smile Train partner hospitals, while undertaking extensive discussions and consultations with the Ministry of Health, hospital administration and surgical teams in each country to address their specific needs.
During 2022, Smile Train and KidsOR will install 15 additional operating theaters across Africa. The long-term collaboration will result in the establishment of 30 pediatric operating rooms in all African countries over the next five years, treating more than 12,000 children. They will also set up an exciting fellowship program for 40 pediatric surgeons in sub-Saharan Africa – training the next generation of surgeons to provide life-changing, life-saving care for children with clefts.