Finances sorted, Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital charges ahead

2017-09-15 01:09

The doors to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital have smiley faces on them. The walls are covered in colourful murals.

The staff are friendly and welcoming. Their mandate is to provide world-class paediatric services to southern Africa’s children.

The Johannesburg hospital, which services the needs of children from around the country on a referral-based system, has treated more than 200 patients since its first intake in June – and that’s just the beginning.

“The first patient intake is a seminal milestone. By providing the best quality, we hope to start improving paediatric services to southern Africa’s children,” said Dr Mandisa Maholwana, chief executive of the hospital.

Speaking at a press conference at the hospital this morning, Maholwana explained that the first phase of the hospital opened with the radiology department on June 21.

Surrounded by walls with bursts of colour and the most up-to-date technology, children have undergone MRI scans under the strict care and supervision of the trained staff at the hospital.

However, the hospital, which launched in December last year, has been marred with controversy over alleged financial trouble, with reports that funding was not coming in.

It was alleged that only R150 million was received from government, a shortfall of R350 million which was initially promised to the hospital.

Maholwana told journalists that they were in a “comfortable position” and that she was not worried about the finances of the hospital.

“I think it was clear from all the conversations today that there is a clear commitment, from Treasury and the national department of health to assist Nelson Mandela’s children hospital with operational expenses. So on our side I do feel confident that Treasury and department of health will come through with that commitment,” she said.

Dr Mpho Phalatse, MMC for health and social development Picture: @_nmch_/ twitter
The entrance to the Nelson Mandela Children Hospital in Parktown.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
Funky pictures, steps on to the machines – the hospital is kitted out to accommodate its small patients.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
The chief executive of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Sibongile Mkhabela, enjoys the press conference on Thursday.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
Dr Ernest Kenoshi, the acting head of the Gauteng health department.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
Even the scary MRI machine has been given a face-lift.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
The entrance shows off the contemporary design of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
The rooms of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital are covered in murals. Children love the pictures, which make them feel at ease in an otherwise scary environment.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
Visitors check out the cartoons on the walls of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
Jayson Oopiechand took the media on a tour of the Nelson Mandela Children Hospital in Parktown.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
Professor Ashraf Coovadia, head of the paediatrics and child health department at Wits Universiry.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
The health department’s Dr Terence Carter.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24
The Nelson Mandela Children Hospital.Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Netwerk24

Dr Ernest Kinoshi, the acting head of the Gauteng health department, said that the government was aligned to fully supporting the initiatives of the hospital by setting aside R600 million towards the running of the hospital.

Perhaps one of the highlights of the hospital’s birth has been the collaborative effort by the City of Johannesburg.

Dr Mpho Phalatse, mayoral committee member for health and social development said that the City was committed to offering assistance to the hospital, and that by identifying some of the ailments which the children are brought in with, the city would be able to identify certain “hotspots” in the city that could be the cause or reason for children getting sick.

“We’ve got a huge commitment to prioritising healthcare in the City of Johannesburg. Access to early childhood development is important for us because these children grow up to become important people,” Phalatse said.

Phalatse spoke honestly about her personal experience of losing babies during her time as a practising doctor, and said it was “heartbreaking”.

“I know that those babies could have been saved if we worked with different resources, and this is why this hospital is so important to be able to save lives,” she said.

The hospital pharmacy as well anaesthesiology were also operational in June, and by the end of this financial year the next phase of the hospital was expected to open which includes the cardiology outpatient department and the renal and surgical units.

Avantika Seeth
Multimedia journalist
City Press
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November 10 2019