Thousands of Children to Benefit from New State-of-the-Art Surgical Facilities in Lagos

11/17/2021

Lagos  – Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) has today unveiled two paediatric theatres that have been installed by global charities Smile Train and Kids Operating Room (KidsOR).

In low- and middle-income countries, around 85 percent of children will need surgical care before their 15th birthday, but more than a billion children worldwide lack access to safe, affordable, and timely surgical and anaesthesia care. Hundreds of children are expected to benefit from these two state-of-the-art Operating Rooms, which have been outfitted with equipment tailored for paediatric surgical care. This will translate to more lives saved and disabilities averted.

Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Smile Train Vice President and Regional Director for Africa Mrs. Nkeiruka Obi underscored the need to strengthen local capacity to provide quality treatment, saying: “Smile Train is focused on strengthening public health systems through our sustainable partnership model. Lagos University Teaching Hospital serves such a large population and provides surgical care to so many children. Supporting them in this renovation will increase their capacity and elevate the quality of care for children across Nigeria. We remain committed to boosting the capacity of local healthcare professionals while prioritizing children in receiving safe, quality, and timely surgery and anaesthesia care.”

On behalf of KidsOR, Past President of the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) Professor King David Terna Yawe acknowledged that the investment by Smile Train in partnership with KidsOR will greatly improve access to both elective and emergency operations in LUTH, thereby reducing morbidities and mortalities from delays in emergency surgery and long waits for elective surgery: “The provision of dedicated theatres for paediatric patients is highly commendable in many respects, especially in a city like Lagos where the available operating facilities are grossly inadequate to cater to the large population. This will facilitate capacity building for paediatric surgeons for the Nigerian health system and will allow LUTH to attract surgery residents from member nations of Economic Community of West African States for training as well.”

Echoing his statement, Chief Medical Director and Consultant Paediatric Surgeon Professor Chris Bode noted that 10 percent of Nigeria's 200 million population live in Lagos: “Nine million are children aged 14 years or less. Annually, 2.9 million children require elective surgeries in Nigeria and almost 300,000 of them reside in Lagos,” said Prof. Bode.

Adding: “Despite this high burden of surgical conditions among our children, there were no dedicated surgical suites for children in Lagos until the theatres were built recently in LUTH. These two Operating Rooms have become the flagship of what is required for surgery for children in Lagos, and, in fact, Nigeria.”

Professor Olugbenga Ogunlewe, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial and Cleft Surgeon with the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, expressed delight at the new theatres: “In addition to providing world-class standards of care using the new equipment, the new theatre is motivating teams to carry out more surgeries with a refreshed frame of mind. We anticipate having more children receiving surgeries.”

Smile Train and KidsOR share a long-standing commitment to increasing access to paediatric surgical and anaesthesia care through a sustainable and empowering model. Given the anticipated population growth of Africa, there will be a significant need for paediatric surgical interventions. 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, bringing care to more than 12,000 children.

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About Smile Train
Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children's lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train's sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit smiletrain.org.

About Kids Operating Room
Kids Operating Room is a Scottish-based charity working globally to provide paediatric Operating Rooms in hospitals and safe equipment to surgeons. KidsOR also funds training of surgeons and anaesthesia providers and works with National Ministries of Health to develop sustainable healthcare services. Working across Africa and Latin America KidsOR has installed close to 50 Operating Rooms and provided over 45,000 children with access to emergency lifesaving and life-changing surgery. Visit: www.kidsOR.org

Press Contacts:

Smile Train
Emily Manjeru
PR & Communications Manager, Africa
+254724 926 269
[email protected]

Kids Operating Room
Muthoni Wahome
Communications Officer - Africa
+254732665701
[email protected]