news / Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital launch!
We are delighted that the launch of the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital in Johannesburg took place on Friday 2 December! The momentous event was a celebration not only of the vision of South African President Nelson Mandela, but those that have given towards creating a living legacy through their hard work, donations and passionate commitment.
Over the past 11 years, the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust was led by CEO Sibongile Mkhabela. Sibongile spearheaded the business case development, feasibility study, design, construction and commissioning of the building. We were all thrilled to be celebrating this important milestone in honour of Madiba's legacy on the eve of the 3rd anniversary of his passing.
As Sibongile said at the event: "There are only four other hospitals in Africa to serve nearly 450 million children. Millions of these children suffer from life-threatening illnesses and have little or no chance of receiving the care they need. Mandela's love for children was deep. When you brought a child in to the room, his eyes lit up. This hospital will be part of his legacy. We are ending 2016 on a celebratory note, and are looking forward to 2017".
The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital is the newest, dedicated paediatric hospital located in Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa with state-of-the-art equipment. This specialist referral only, tertiary facility has 200 beds with Centres of Excellence in Cardiology & Cardiothoracic surgery, Haematology, Oncology, Nephrology, Pulmonology, Craniofacial surgery, Neurosciences and General Paediatric surgery services. The hospital will be integrated into the referral network of the academic hospitals throughout South Africa. The unique health care model serves patients in both the public and private health care system and is designed to be completely child-friendly. Video equipment has been installed in the operating rooms to send live broadcasts of surgeries to educate doctors in remote areas across southern Africa.
For children who are sick and have to go to hospital, it can be a frightening and intimidating experience. The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital was designed by children, for children - even the 21 different wallpaper designs. The hospital is bright, fun and attention to detail is incredible. Corridors and walls in the wards have been painted with murals of African folklore and children playing. The colours used represent the colours of Africa - blue for the sky and the ocean, yellow for sunshine, green for the earth. The landscaping around the hospital aims to promote nature and play.
The facility even has its own radio station - Radio Lollipop - which provides therapeutic entertainment for the kids, by the kids, with the kids. Radio Lollipop started in 1979 in the UK, and currently works out of 30 children's hospitals all over the world. The station airs in the evenings, and the children can choose the music, learn to be DJ's and phone in from their bedsides. If a child is too sick to come into the studio, the studio can come to them on the wards.
The hospital is currently finalising the equipment commissioning phase, and recruitment processes and will then be testing the business processes and systems. The hospital hopes to admit the first little patients during the 2nd quarter of 2017.
Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said that the facility was a long-standing vision of Nelson Mandela. "Nelson Mandela was a strong advocate for providing treatment to children. I am sure that wherever Madiba is, he is looking down and smiling on what has transpired here today."
At the launch, Graca Machel, who is the chairperson of the hospital's trust, gave the keynote address. She implored people to prioritise children, just as Nelson Mandela had done. "He shared a third of his salary from his pocket and rallied his friends to contribute and even challenged them to match his own contribution. Without the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, we would not have this hospital."
The former First Lady said that Madiba had a fondness for children and had established the fund in an effort to change the way society treats its children and youth. "Madiba's life inspired us to overcome all boundaries. As we honour Madiba today, we also honour the fund and the trust of the hospital, which I am honoured to serve".
Also speaking at the launch was former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke who was Chairman of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund for many years. Having worked closely with Mr Mandela and a close friend, Mr Moseneke said that if Mr Mandela had been at the event he would have said "Ndiyabulela (I thank you)". He added "This is a great country; we need men and women of courage and vision. This hospital is a reminder to all of us that there is a place for hard work, for excellence, for honesty, for doing good things, for giving and not taking."
We would like to thank everyone who has supported us on the journey so far to make Mr Mandela's dream, a reality. We are humbled and extremely grateful to all our donors and supporters who have not only played a part in creating this wonderful facility for sick children, but who have helped us continue Mr Mandela's legacy.
Our last bit of fundraising continues, and we still need your help!! If you would like to make a donation, however small please click here.
You can also donate by telephone: +44 203 077 1231.