A SCOTTISH charity that installs child-friendly, state-of-the-art paediatric operating rooms has reached an impressive milestone – delivering 100,000 operations worldwide in just five years.

Kids Operating Room, founded by husband-and-wife philanthropists Garreth and Nicola Wood in 2018, has installed 68 operating rooms in 24 low and middle income countries to date.

Currently, 1.75 billion children live in a country where they don’t have access to safe or timely surgery.

“It is currently one of the largest worldwide gaps in children’s health as well as the most underfunded, even though access to surgery has been a life-changing moment for many children,” said Nicola.

“Safe and timely surgery not only saves children’s lives but allows them to return to education, lead lives free from pain and reclaim their childhoods.”

The charity’s new data shows that more than half (51%) of the children helped were previously absent from school because of their surgical condition.

Based in Edinburgh, the charity also has a warehouse in Dundee, where surgical equipment is shipped out around the globe. It recently launched its No Room To Operate campaign, which aims to provide a further 100,000 children in low and middle income countries with access to life-changing surgery.

The team has also recently pioneered technology to power operations using solar – a ground-breaking development that addresses frequent power outages in parts of Africa that regularly interrupt lifesaving procedures.

The operating rooms feature state-of-the-art surgical equipment designed specifically to be used on a child. As well as providing suitable smaller equipment, the theatres are colourful and child-friendly, featuring the charity’s signature animal artwork.

“We live in a country where it’s taken for granted that our children will receive the life-saving surgery they need – this should be the case for every child, no matter where they live,” said Garreth.

“It’s astounding that this glaring gap in global health has never been addressed and we hope we can raise awareness of this growing need as well as raise crucial funds to tackle it.”

One of the patients the charity has helped is two-year-old Mohammed from Côte d’Ivoire who was a healthy, happy boy until he developed a sharp pain in his abdomen. His mother rushed him to the hospital, where she was told that Mohammed couldn’t be treated.

With his condition worsening by the hour, Mohammed was taken to CHU Treichville – a larger, district hospital with a dedicated paediatric facility installed by Kids Operating Room.

Here he underwent life-saving surgery, after being diagnosed with a urethral blockage.

“Without this dedicated Kids Operating Room facility, Mohammed’s story would have taken a hugely different turn,” said Garreth.

The little boy is just one of the thousands of children that are treated in the charity’s operating rooms every year and now lives a happy and normal childhood, back at home with his family.

“I’m so grateful for the operation and excellent care Mohammed received,” his mother said. “Like every parent, I just want to see him living a happy, normal life.”

For more information about Kids Operating Room and the No Room to Operate appeal, visit www.KidsOR.org