Kids Operating Room (KidsOR)
Kids Operating Room formally launched in January 2018, however their team had been working in the development of healthcare systems and children’s surgery long before then.
The first project they worked on together was in Uganda. It was the development of a dedicated Operating Room for children’s surgery in the capital city, Kampala. This had come about after learning of the exceptional work Dr John Sekabira who was trying to care for as many of the country’s 20 million children as he possibly could.
Making the case for space
Each morning Dr Sekabira would go to the hospital and make the case for his patients, hoping to be given access to an operating room. Sometimes he was successful, sometimes other surgeons (treating only adults) would be allocated the rooms. On those days, even urgent cases would go unanswered.
The solution, to them, seemed simple. They’d create a dedicated operating room for children’s surgery, with its own admissions and recovery space.
This would give Dr Sekabira his own space, meaning he could operate on many more children. It would increase the amount of time trainees spent operating too, which would drive up quality and capacity; and help establish children’s surgery as an independent specialty within Uganda’s healthcare system. Finally bringing a voice to the country's children in such desperate need of care.
Importantly, this approach also allowed them to create a child-friendly environment that would let worried children, and their worried parents, know that they were in a safe space created just for them.
The one-off became the beginning
In early 2015, this vision became a reality, we created Uganda’s first ever dedicated operating room for children’s surgery. This project was to be a ‘one-off’. Needless to say, things didn’t quite work out that way.
With a second operating room opening in Uganda shortly after and then further developments in Malawi and Tanzania, it became clear that the demand for our work was overwhelming; that the unique approach of creating surgical infrastructure around existing doctors was highly impactful and respectful; and for the true potential of this approach to be realised they needed a full-time focus.
It was also clear from the growing requests for support that this was an intervention that was going to be highly sought after, yet no one else was providing this focused support for children’s surgery.See more