After 12 years of relentless efforts to fulfil former president Nelson Mandela’s wish, South Africa has officially launched the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg.
The hospital was officially opened to the public on Friday. The referral-only hospital has 17 dialysis machines and seven imaging units that can treat up to 2 500 patients a month, 200 beds and 10 inexpensive theatres.
This development brings to fruition the efforts of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust – which was saddled with the responsibility of raising R1 billion from the private, public sectors, as well as ordinary individuals, to build a state-of-the-art 200-bed and 10-theatre paediatric hospital.
It is understood that the facility is earmarked to treat children with special needs and to provide lifesaving treatment, from neurology through to heart and psychiatric conditions.
Speaking at the official launch of the hospital in Parktown, wife of former president Mandela encouraged all and sundry not to only see the hospital as a place for a cure but an embodiment of social justice and equity.
Machel also announced that the training of specialist doctors within the Southern African Development Community region will commence soon at the hospital.
“There is a commitment to be focused and making sure you don’t only have a building, but the values behind service and providing social justice. The first step will be to bring in paediatricians and specialised nurses to be aligned on how to treat a child,” she said.
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital is expected to start admission of patients by mid-2017.
Speaking also, Programme director and the hospital’s ambassador, rapper ProVerb, thanked everyone who contributed in diverse ways towards the realisation of the project.
ProVerb thanked Universities in the province for their recommendable contributions. It is understood that Wits donated the land on which the hospital is built while an undisclosed University of Johannesburg student, designed “more child-friendly” beds.