AN international medical charity set up by a Scottish couple after the tragic loss of their baby triplets is set to help thousands of children in Afghanistan from next year.

Nicola and Garreth Wood, the son of the oil tycoon oil Sir Ian Wood, founded Kids Operating Room (KidsOR) in 2018 to provide life-saving paediatric surgery across the world.

They suffered the devastating loss of their baby girls Asha, Oren and Willow in 2013 following their premature birth.

Since its foundation four years ago KidsOR has opened 59 operating theatres across Africa and South America.

And in 2023 it will establish a new state-of-the-art paediatric operating room in the Afghan capital of Kabul with an ambition to provide a thousand operations to children annually.

The facility will be based at the Ataturk Children’s Hospital where the charity said surgeons have been working with a critical lack of equipment and resources to treat youngsters.

Mrs Wood, who has two children, said: “Afghanistan is one of the hardest places in the world to be a child and there is a huge and desperate need for a paediatric surgery facility. This installation will directly save lives, as well as allow children to live their lives free from disability and pain.

“Ultimately, it will transform the futures of vulnerable children and their families. Every child deserves access to surgery and we’re committed to putting the resources in place to make this happen for children across the globe.

“Garreth and I feel very proud that Kids Operating Room are now in Afghanistan and feel strongly that it is a country that will particularly benefit from these facilities.”

Decades of insecurity and conflict has left Afghanistan facing one of the biggest humanitarian crises in the world.

Unicef estimate that a total of 13.1 million children across the country still urgently need humanitarian assistance to survive, while a devastating earthquake that hit eastern Afghanistan in June, killed more than a thousand people and leaving many more injured, including children.

It is also reported to have one of the highest child mortality rates for under fives in the world according to Unicef data with 58 deaths per 1000 births, compared to 13.7 in Mexico, 4.2 in the UK and 2.3 in Finland.

To open the new operating room, the charity has shipped more than 3,300 pieces of paediatric surgical equipment from its logistics hub in Dundee to the Afghan capital more than 5,000 miles away.

Now at sea, the shipment is expected to arrive in the Taliban-controlled country later this month, when the charity said it will work with in-country biomedical engineers to get the operating room open early next year.

The inspiration for the project follows a partnership formed with global surgery expert Dr Dunya Moghul, who is originally from Afghanistan and is now a KidsOR paediatric surgeon.

Dr Moghul made clear the need to improve surgical conditions for children in the country.

She said: “There is a huge and desperate need for paediatric surgery in Kabul and I’m proud to work with KidsOR to get children access to the safe surgery they so badly need.

“Surgery is a basic human right that must sit at the heart of any sustainable healthcare system. By providing access to safe paediatric surgery, we are breaking new ground to save children’s lives.

“Currently, paediatric surgeons are working with very old equipment that is often faulty or equipment that is designed for adults. This means providing surgical services for children in these settings is exceedingly difficult and a lot of time is lost.

“The installation will not only provide a safe, clean facility for surgery but it will also provide brand new dedicated children’s equipment.”