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Paediatric theatre installed at ALERT hospital

Operating Theatre Dedicated to Children Commissioned at ALERT Hospital

Ethiopian News _ ALERT Hospital _ Paediatric theatre

Press Release

Operating Theatre Dedicated to Children Commissioned at ALERT Hospital

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: The All Africa Leprosy and Rehabilitation Training Centre (ALERT) Hospital has opened doors to a dedicated children’s Operating Room courtesy of global charities Smile Train and Kids Operating Room (KidsOR).

Smile Train Senior Program Manager East Africa, Sesnie Zemichael acknowledged the need to prioritize surgical care for children, praising the long-standing partnership with ALERT in providing timely surgical care for children with cleft.

“There are still many children in need of quality surgical care in Ethiopia. We are happy to have funded the refurbishment of the theatre at ALERT, one of our longest-serving cleft care centre and KidsOR brought life to the theatres with the pristine equipment and vibrant artwork. It is such a pleasant experience for patient and medical professionals alike,” noted Sesnie.

Director for Africa at KidsOR Rosemary Mugwe recognised the projected impact of having a dedicated theatre for children: “Research estimates that by 2050, Ethiopia will have 58 million children under 18 years.  Every child as a right to quality and timely surgery regardless of one’s social status or economic background. This Operating Room is vital. Children should access surgical care when they need it not forgetting the ripple effect; less social and economic burden to caregivers and country at large.”

Research indicates that approximately 30 percent of the global burden of disease can be treated with surgery. There are, on average, 0.03 paediatric surgeons per 100,000 children in low-income countries and one specialist surgeon for over 3 million children compared to one specialist paediatric surgeon for every 47,000 children in high-income countries. 

ALERT Hospital Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ishmael Shemsedin hailed the partnership that brought the transformation to the theatre, terming it as a healing space for children with surgical needs.

“This pediatric theatre refurbished by Smile Train and KidsOR has elevated the quality of surgical care we will provide to our children, offering healing in an environment that makes them feel safe and comforted by the artworks and quality equipment,” said Dr. Ishmael.

The long-term collaboration of KidsOR and Smile Train will ultimately result in more than 30 paediatric operating rooms provided across Africa over the next five years, treating more than 12,000 children. So far, the partnership has installed 14 pediatric hospitals since inking the partnership in 2021. Additionally, the Smile Train-KidsOR partnership is also supporting a paediatric surgery scholarship for the training and education of 40 paediatric surgeons across Africa in partnership with the West African College of Surgeons (WACS) and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA).

About Smile Train

Smile Train empowers local medical professionals with training, funding, and resources to provide free cleft surgery and comprehensive cleft care to children globally. We advance a sustainable solution and scalable global health model for cleft treatment, drastically improving children’s lives, including their ability to eat, breathe, speak, and ultimately thrive. To learn more about how Smile Train’s sustainable approach means donations have both an immediate and long-term impact, please visit

About Kids Operating Room

Kids Operating Room is a global health charity with bases in Nairobi, Edinburgh, London, and Dundee. 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 they need to care for their nation’s children.  More than 66,000 children have accessed life-changing or life-saving care through KidsOR’s work. The charity also funds training of surgeons and anaesthesia providers and works with National Ministries of Health to develop sustainable healthcare services.  

 KidsOR advocates, at a national and international level, on the global plight of children denied access to safe surgery. The KidsOR vision is for a world where every child has equal access to safe surgery. Visit: 

Press Contacts:

Smile Train Emily Manjeru PR & Communications Manager, Africa +254724 926 269  KidsOR Muthoni Wahome Communications Officer – Africa +254732665701  


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