Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital set to change paediatric healthcare
The pioneering R1 billion Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, is set to revolutionize child healthcare not only in South Africa but for the entire South African Development Community.
In the region, there are an estimated 125 deaths for every 1 000 children under the age of 5 (in 2011). This makes the Millennium Development Goal to “reduce under-five child mortality by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015”, even more crucial.
The specialist paediatric referral hospital will be a world-class facility and is scheduled to open its doors in July 2014.
Professor Keith Bolton, Lead Clinician for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital says the impact of the hospital cannot be underestimated.
“This hospital will not only provide sophisticated care for individual need but will act as a training hospital for paediatric doctors and nurses for Southern African region and the SADC countries. The hospital will provide an ethos of care which will filter into the communities which we serve.”
The hospital will provide much-needed complex and specific treatment for children through its various Centres of Excellence,” Professor Bolton said. “African children have the right to and deserve access to all levels of care.”
The Centres of Excellence will see high-level paediatric care in the fields of paediatric surgery including Neurosurgery and Craniofacial surgery. Other Centres of Excellence include nephrology (or the treatment of kidney disease), cancer, cardiology and heart surgery, a state-of the-art paediatric X-ray centre and two critical-care units – each with 24 beds.
The demand for a specialised paediatric hospital on the continent is profound. There are nearly 450 million children in Africa and only four children’s hospitals compared with 23 children’s hospitals Canada, 20 in Germany and 19 in Australia.
Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola said the hospital while part of Mandela’s legacy, will also be a legacy for Africa. “Paediatric care on the African continent is something which deserves urgent attention. We believe this hospital will lead the way, not only in terms of the treatment of children, but also in terms of training doctors from all over the continent and equipping them with the skills needed to deal with a variety of high level child ailments.”
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust has embarked on a comprehensive international campaign to draw attention to the project and the benefits it will have for Africa’s children. The Global Fundraising Committee, which includes business leaders, members of civil society, members of the Mandela family and trustees of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, will coordinate the fundraising.
Apart from initiating the project, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund donated R42 million to the hospital trust, the DG Murray Trust pledged R50 million for the construction phase, and handsome contributions have materialised from the Kellogg Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the JSE, the Barloworld Trust and several individuals. This is in addition to substantial donations from foundations and corporations, which contributed to the feasibility study phase of the project.
The Department of Health has committed to support the hospital’s operational expenditure once it is up and running.