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UPTH, SmileTrain and KID’sOR Unveils specialized pediatric operating theatre

 UPTH, SmileTrain and KID’sOR Unveils specialized pediatric operating theatre

On July 3rd, the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) inaugurated a significant addition to its medical facilities: the Smile Train KidsOR. This cutting-edge operating room, dedicated exclusively to pediatric surgeries, represents a major step forward in the hospital’s ability to provide specialized care for children.

The KidsOR was developed through a collaboration between Smile Train, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that provides free surgeries for children with cleft lip and palate, and KidsOR, another NGO focused on improving pediatric surgical care worldwide. This partnership has outfitted the operating room with the latest medical technology and included an adjoining Intensive Care Unit, a recovery room, and a playroom, creating a comprehensive, child-friendly environment for young patients.

The chairman medical advisory Committee Professor Datonye Alasia, representing the Chief Medical Director, Professor Henry Ugboma, at UPTH, expressed his enthusiasm about the new facility. “The theater is equipped to the highest standards, ensuring quality care for any child needing surgery,” he stated. He emphasized that the KidsOR will reduce the competition for theater space, allowing for timely and safe pediatric surgeries and freeing up resources for other critical cases.

Dr. Ijeoma Onwugha, Head of the Burns and Plastic Surgery Department, highlighted the transformative impact of the new facility. “This is the first of its kind in the entire South-South region of Nigeria,” she noted. “Previously, we faced delays in performing surgeries on children due to limited theater space. Now, with KidsOR, we have a dedicated facility with world-class technology for all types of pediatric surgeries.”

Mrs. Victoria Awaze Ogundipe, Senior Program Manager for Smile Train in West Africa, emphasized the broader implications of the new facility. “The KidsOR ensures safe, timely, and quality surgeries for children,” she said. Smile Train’s support also includes installing solar power to provide a constant electricity supply, preventing power outages during critical surgeries.

The launch of KidsOR is a significant milestone for UPTH and a beacon of hope for the wider community. The hospital remains committed to offering free cleft lip and palate surgeries, providing comprehensive care including nutritional rehabilitation, pediatric care, plastic surgery, orthodontics, speech therapy, and clinical psychology.

Dr. Onwugha and Professor Alasia stressed the importance of raising awareness about the available services. They encouraged families with children suffering from cleft lip and palate or other congenital deformities to seek free, comprehensive treatment at UPTH.

As Professor Alasia cut the ribbon, the significance of the day was clear. The new Smile Train KidsOR is set to revolutionize pediatric surgical care in the region, ensuring every child receives the highest quality care and the opportunity for a healthy, fulfilling life.

With this new facility, the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital strengthens its position as a leading center for pediatric surgery, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children across Nigeria and beyond.
The donated equipment includes infusion pumps, monitors, and a specialized operating table with a warmer, all tailored to meet pediatric care needs. This comprehensive setup ensures UPTH can provide top-tier surgical care for various pediatric specialties, including cardiothoracic, vascular, orthopedic, general pediatric, and ophthalmological surgeries.

-Oyinbunughan okpalo

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The University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital treats well over 400,000 out-patients per annum, over 10,000 in-patients per annum and well over 3000 surgeries per annum.

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