Global charities Smile Train and Kids Operating Room (KidsOR) have unveiled the refurbished children’s operating room at the Armed Forces Specialist Hospital in Kano, bringing safer, more timely pediatric surgery closer to the community in the North West Region of Nigeria.
The launch comes at a time when Smile Train and KidsOR are celebrating the successful delivery of 12 out of 20 pediatric theatres earmarked for revamp across Africa by June 2022.
Reacting to the development, Smile Train Vice-President and Regional Director for Africa, Mrs Nkeiruka Obi, noted that in “June 2020, Smile Train and KidsOR committed to 20 pediatric theatres, three of which have been hosted in Nigeria – Lagos, Enugu and at the Armed Forces Hospital in Kano.
“It marks another victory for all children including those with cleft, who are in dire need of timely and quality pediatric surgery.”
Mrs Obi equally noted that the new operating room which is also better equipped will not only allow surgeons to enhance their skills in caring for children, “but we anticipate a significant impact in the lives of the children whose lives with be transformed through surgery.
“Hence, children with easily treatable surgical conditions, like cleft lip and palate can receive high quality, life-saving care when they need it the most and much closer to their doorsteps. This is the power of collaboration.”
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Prof. Adetokunbo Adebola, hailed the transformation, noting that it not only uplifted the Hospital as a centre for learning for surgeons, but also provided children with the much-needed comfort along their recovery journey.
“Our longstanding relationship with Smile Train has ensured that we provide safe, timely and quality pediatric care to many patients with cleft. The renovated theatre has certainly brought more confidence among the population in receiving quality surgical care for the children.
“Equally, the service delivery of the medical professionals has greatly improved, boosting the quality of training we provide at the Hospital,” Prof. Adebola said.
KidsOR Director for Africa Rosemary Mugwe equally emphasised the importance of having dedicated pediatric rooms
She said, “We are delighted to have delivered this joint project successfully as we continue to support the government of Nigeria to build strong health systems.
“In this theatre, we have delivered approximately 3,000 state-of-the-art equipment. Our model is to give the right tool to skilled personnel to enable them care for the children of Kano and Nigeria at large.”
Currently, the continent of Africa has the youngest population in the world, with the overall population set to grow exponentially by 2050. The already significant need for paediatric surgical interventions will only increase in the coming decades.
The long-term collaboration of KidsOR and Smile Train will ultimately result in more than 30 paediatric operating rooms provided across countries in Africa over the next five years, treating more than 12,000 children.
The Smile Train-KidsOR partnership is also supporting a pediatric surgery scholarship for the training and education of 40 paediatric surgeons across Africa in partnership with the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).