Garreth Wood, Chairman of KidsOR, on setting up kids' operating rooms in low/middle income countries

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Transforming lives by setting up kids’ operating rooms and training paediatric surgeons in low and middle income countries. Garreth Wood, Chair of KidsOR, talks about need, solutions and economic impact.


KidsOR is operating in 20 countries; they’re focused on building centres of excellence for children's surgery; dramatically increasing capacity and access for safe surgery; and they’re doing it in government hospitals, creating safe spaces and the right tools. They are training a local healthcare workforce so they can care for their own nation’s children.


Beyond the moral imperative to support children, there’s a strong economic argument as well: Countries face a staggering difference in economic benefit between a child who spends their entire life living with a disability versus a child who’s able to contribute fully to the country as they grow up.


In this conversation we explore a range of relevant issues, from the need to train paediatric surgeons, biomedical engineers and the local healthcare workforce, to scaling up internationally and collaborating with governments and ministries of health.


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About Garreth Wood


Garreth is a UK philanthropist and advocate. He and his wife Nicola founded Kids Operating Room, with the vision of ‘A world where every child has equal access to safe surgery.’ 


Garreth firmly believes that access to surgery is a basic human right and that every child should receive urgent healthcare when they need it. Sadly, this isn’t the case across many low-and-middle income countries, which is why Kids Operating Room created an innovative and sustainable solution, removing the barriers to surgery for the world’s poorest children.


He believes that philanthropy requires tenacity; the ability to hang on when letting go appears most attractive. He is inspired by the tenacity of the surgical teams KidsOR support across the world. The grit, perseverance and resilience they show every day, often in impossibly difficult working environments, is an inspiration to him. 


Garreth lives in East Lothian, Scotland with Nicola and their two young children. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family on their farm, snowboarding, racing cars, playing golf and has one of the rarest lego collections in the world.