Safe surgery for children thanks to milestone installation

A UK CHARITY has installed the first dedicated paediatric operating room in Namibia, giving thousands of children in the country access to safe surgery.

The state-of-the-art facility at Windhoek Central Hospital (WCH) in the country’s capital is already being used by paediatric teams, who had previously had to adapt adult surgical equipment and facilities.

Containing more than 3000 pieces of equipment, the installation marks the 59th by Kids Operating Room (KidsOR), with Namibia being the 22nd country to benefit.


Garreth Wood, Co-founder of KidsOR, said: “The facility has been an immediate success with surgeons and patients alike and is providing safe paediatric surgery – something we take for granted.

“A frustrating reality for gifted surgeons across many of the places we work is having the knowledge to save a child’s life but not the equipment.

“Limited to no access of appropriate surgical care puts the lives of children at risk of dying from treatable conditions like appendicitis or subject to a lifetime of disability from a broken ankle.

“That’s why we are so passionate about our work and by providing access to paediatric equipment we are breaking new ground to save children’s lives.”

For each operating room it installs, KidsOR compiles and tests all components from its Dundee logistics hub. Each room is individually designed by biomedical engineers working with in-country colleagues to ensure each aspect will meet the long-term needs of local surgeons.

A team works with in-country engineers and surgeons to install the equipment, as well as adorning the walls with colourful graphics representative of that country’s wildlife. These visuals have become the charity’s hallmark – and help to put children and families at ease pre and post-surgery.

KidsOR also works closely with officials in the country where the operating room is being established. Namibia’s Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Kalumbi Shangula and Head of Department for Paediatric Surgery at WCH, Dr Kondjela Hamunyela attended the opening of the operating room alongside KidsOR CEO David Cunningham and Director for Africa Rosemary Mugwe.


Gareth added: “It’s an exceptionally proud moment to install the first paediatric operating room in Namibia.

“Investing in high-quality surgical infrastructure strengthens healthcare systems and allows nations to start moving towards independent delivery of care for their children.

“We believe surgery is a basic human right which must sit at the heart of any sustainable healthcare system and our work won’t stop until this is available to all children.”


Earlier this year KidsOR surpassed one million years of disability prevented through over 79,000 life-changing surgical procedures undertaken in its operating rooms.

A majority of its projects are in Africa, however it has also worked in Central America. Earlier this month it announced its plans to install a paediatric operating room in Kabul, Afghanistan.

KidsOR is a charity tackling the global crisis in children’s surgery. You can donate to its lifesaving work by visiting