A Scottish charity is set to open state-of-the-art children’s operating theatre in Afghanistan in a bid to cut the country’s skyrocketing rate of child mortality.
KidsOR said the room in Kabul’s Ataturk Children’s Hospital will “directly save lives as well as allow children to live free from disability and pain” after surgeons complained of a “critical lack” of equipment to carry out procedures.
The organisation, founded in Edinburgh by Nicola Wood and husband Garreth, said over 3,300 pieces of paediatric surgical equipment were due to arrive in the Taliban-controlled country from their hub in Dundee.
Dr Dunya Moghul, one of the charity’s paediatric surgeons, said access to proper surgical equipment would be “groundbreaking” for medics working in severely underfunded surroundings.
“Currently, paediatric surgeons are working with very old equipment that is often faulty or equipment that is designed for adults,” he said.
“This means providing surgical services for children in these settings is exceedingly difficult and a lot of time is lost.
“By providing access to safe paediatric surgery, we are breaking new ground to save children’s lives.
“The installation will not only provide a safe, clean facility for surgery but it will also provide brand new dedicated children’s equipment.”
KidsOR has installed 59 operating rooms across Africa and Latin America since it was established in 2018.
Unicef data shows Afghanistan has one of the world’s largest child populations, but also ranks among the highest for infant mortality.
Nicola said the latest theatre, due to open in the new year, could save up to 1,000 lives annually.
“Every child deserves access to surgery and we’re committed to putting the resources in place to make this happen for children across the globe,” she said.
“Ultimately, it will transform the futures of vulnerable children and their families.”