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Charity’s child surgery work creates £1bn of economic benefit

A Scottish-based charity that provides dedicated, specialist facilities and equipment for children’s surgery in low-income countries is today celebrating a significant landmark.

Since its inception in 2018, the work of Kids Operating Room (KidsOR) has given more than 43,000 children access to life-changing or life-saving surgery. Today, KidsOR has announced that the economic benefit of these operations has broken the £1 billion mark.

Through independent research, the charity has calculated that a child undergoing an operation in one of its Operating Rooms in Africa or Latin America is projected to go on to contribute an average of £26,000 in additional GDP in the years to come.

Charity's child surgery work creates £1bn of economic benefit
David Cunningham

David Cunningham, CEO of KidsOR, said:

“When a child has a lifesaving operation or an operation that cures a simple condition like incontinence, that allows the child to stay in school and grow up to contribute to their nation’s economy, we can calculate what the economic benefit to that country was of the child surviving or being able to go to school. A core part of our mission is to produce the evidence desperately needed to show that providing surgical care is one of the most impactful investments you can make in global health.

“At KidsOR, we rely on academic partners to conduct independent research to evaluate the impact of our work. For every operation performed in one of our partner hospitals, a local data collector records key data about the operation and its outcomes, as well as its impact on the child and their family.

“With all of that in mind, we are delighted to have reached the incredible landmark of £1 billion in economic benefit generated for our partner nations. But our work will not stop here, and we are already working to create many more Operating Rooms and to train many more local surgeons in countries where they are needed the most.”

Charity's child surgery work creates £1bn of economic benefit

KidsOR is a Scottish global health charity with bases in Edinburgh, Dundee and Nairobi. It works directly with local surgeons and their teams across Africa and South America to transform hospital spaces into dedicated Operating Rooms for children’s surgery, creating child-friendly surroundings and providing surgeons with the specialist equipment and training they need to care for their nation’s children. Since 2018, the charity has created the capacity for more than 41,000 operations to be carried out.

A single operation taking place in a KidsOR Operating Room is estimated to prevent an average of 17.1 years of life lost due to disability or premature death. This is the key metric used by the World Health Organisation to assess the global burden of disease.

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