Sunday, 14 April 2024
Sunday, 14 April 2024

£2m for UK charity to deliver surgery for Botswana kids

An ambitious plan to ensure surgery is available for Botswana’s children has been launched, thanks to substantial support from a well-known businessman and the efforts of a UK charity.

Bristol City owner Steve Lansdown CBE and his wife Maggie have committed the funding to support a £2m surgical care project, allowing global health charity, Kids Operating Room to deliver two dedicated operating rooms in the capital, Gaborone as well as Francistown – with capacity to treat several thousand children per year.

In addition to the two operating rooms, the funding will allow training for three paediatric surgeons, three anaesthetists and 40 nurses in-country as well as two biomedical engineers to maintain the operating rooms. The team will kit out the state-of-the-art operating theatres with groundbreaking solar technology – allowing surgeons to work through power cuts and ensuring the safety of their young patients.

Edinburgh-based Kids Operating Room has installed almost 90 child-friendly paediatric operating rooms in 30 low- and middle-income countries to date. Each operating room provides surgical services and the charity also trains its surgeons, addressing a glaring gap in global health.  

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

The Lansdowns are significant investors in Botswana and are the majority owners of Mashatu Game Reserve. They share an interest and a passion for the country and are particularly active in the Botswanan community.

The surgical plan was launched in an official launch ceremony at The Princess Marine Hospital in Gaborone.

Attending the launch event with his wife Maggie, Mr Lansdown commented on their decision to fund surgical care for children in Botswana:

“Botswana is an incredible country and we have been proud to be associated with it for many years. With a growing population and a lack of access to safe and timely surgery for children, this is such a positive investment into Botswana’s future. 

“We are especially pleased that this is a locally developed plan, which will give it the best chance of success and we are proud to support these doctors as they strive to improve care for every child in Botswana.”

Speaking at the event, local paediatric surgeon and chair of the children’s surgery working group, Dr Kutlo Motlhobogwa said:

“This is an ambitious but important plan to improve the quality of surgical care for every child in Botswana. We set about identifying the most remote children and created a pathway for them to get care, therefore ensuring no child in Botswana should miss out. Our two planned centres of excellence in Gaborone and Francistown will act as hubs in the system, with 11 other hospitals across the country also getting investment.”

Kids Operating Room co-founder and chair Garreth Wood said: 

“We are incredibly grateful to Steve and Maggie for agreeing to fund this incredible programme in Botswana that will see thousands of children access care every year. This is an important step in our mission to improve the quality of healthcare for children across the world. This investment will truly change children’s lives throughout Botswana.

“Access to essential surgery is a life-changing moment for many children. When you operate on a child, the impact lasts a full lifetime. It is currently one of the largest worldwide gaps in children’s health as well as the most underfunded.

“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.”

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