Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital has officially launched two operating theatres dedicated to children. The region accounts for 20 per cent of the country’s population yet lacked paediatric surgical facility.
The paediatric theatres refurbished courtesy of a health charity, Kids Operating Room (KidsOR), received approximately 6,000 items of surgical equipment at a cost of USD 600,000.
Senior Specialist Paediatric Surgeon and Head of the Paediatric Surgery Unit, Dr Michael Amoah noted that that the paediatric theatres were much needed as children need equal attention and services which has not always been the case: “Before the new ORs were installed, we did not have a dedicated Operating Room for paediatric surgery, so we had to compete with adults, meaning we were only able to do around 40-45 paediatric procedures in a month. Most of these were emergencies.
“The theatre was not paediatric-friendly. We had to use adult-sized tools and equipment to operate on small children. The KidsOR Operating Rooms will provide a safe environment for our patients and will shorten the waiting time for both electives and emergencies, thus reducing complications and mortality.
The surgeon is also confident that there will be positive outcome of specialised cases such as conjoined twins and complex anomalies that are presented to the facility.
KidsOR Director for Africa Rosemary Mugwe acknowledged the role and impact the hospital has in meeting healthcare for all: “I take note that KATH serves as referral centre for district and municipal hospitals in the region as well the catchment areas around Kumasi. These two Operating Rooms are much needed to ensure children receive quality surgical care in a timely manner.”
The Operating Rooms, further, will enable the institution to train more paediatric surgeons and anaesthetists as these State-of-the-Art theatres are training grounds for paediatric staff.
This in turn means an increase in the number of paediatric workforce in the country which has a ripple effect towards achieving access to quality healthcare and health system strengthening.
Further, with the new ORs, KATH has reported nearly double an increase in the number of operations carried out in a month, recording 100 surgeries in just over a month of operations from 40.
The installation at KATH is also a milestone for the organisation as it marked the 50th Operating Room installed since inception of the charity four years ago. This landmark has created capacity for more than 30,000 children a year to access safe surgery.
KidsOR works with Ministries of Health, hospitals and local surgical teams to transform hospital spaces into dedicated Operating Rooms for children’s surgery. Since 2018, the charity has installed over 50 paediatric rooms across Africa and Latin America delivering more than 3,000 individual items of surgical equipment at a cost of USD300,000 per theatre installation.