Today is a momentous occasion for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, as it officially opened its doors to the highly anticipated Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in Johannesburg.
The hospital is a product of 11 years hard work, spearheaded by chief executive Sibongile Mkhabela who oversaw the business case development, feasibility study, design and construction and commissioning of the hospital.
Located in Parktown, the facility is a dedicated paediatric hospital.
“This specialist, referral only, tertiary facility will have 200 beds and centres of excellence in cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, haematology, oncology, nephrology, pulmonology, craniofacial surgery, neurosciences and general surgery services,” the trust said.
The hospital will be built into the referral network of academic hospitals throughout the country.
The unique health care model serves patients in both the public and private health care system and is designed to be completely child-friendly.
“We are ending 2016 on a celebratory note,” said Mkhabela, “And are looking forward to 2017.
A key part of our vision is to build Paediatric healthcare capacity and we will therefore open our facility in phases.”
The hospital is currently finalising the equipment commissioning phase and recruitment processes and will be testing the business processes and systems. “When we are satisfied that the first patient can be safely admitted, we will begin accepting patients, mainly in for dialysis and radiology treatments,” Makhabela said.
Minister of Health Aaron Motsoaledi said that the facility was a long-standing vision of Nelson Mandela and that the health department were glad to have partnered with civic organisations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Islamic Relief Worldwide who have played an integral part in helping to provide funding towards the hospital.
“I am sure that wherever Madiba is he is looking down and smiling on what has transpired here today,” Motsoaledi said at the launch.
The minister also raised the issue of the lack of access to quality health care which is still a growing concern globally.
“Nelson Mandela was a strong advocate for providing treatment to children,” the minister said.
Graca Machel, who gave the keynote address, implored people to prioritise children just as Nelson Mandela had done.
“He shared a third of his salary from his pocket and challenged his friends to match this by donating towards the hospital,” Machel said.
The former first lady also highlighted the lifelong cause which Mandela had dedicated his life to and that he proved that “when there is a call, there are no boundaries, we all can join. Madiba’s life inspired us to overcome all boundaries,” she said.
Here are some interesting facts and figures about the hospital:
Architecture and design
• Building design is clinical adjacency, with clinical services that are used together located near to each other for efficiency.
• All out-patient services are located near the reception areas, all in-patient wards, ICU and Theatres are located deeper into the building.
• The building is only four storeys high and is flat to optimise light and contribute to its environmental sustainability. There is an emphasis on integrating the external and internal environments, with lots of glass and gardens in all patient facing areas.
• The hospital architecture and environmental design is inspired by nature, the South African and African context.
• It has a modern, Afropolitan aesthetic with bold colours, textured fabrics and playful accents.
• The layout is a fallen down tree with a central trunk and branches.
• Colours symbolise blue for water, yellow for sun, green for trees and orange for mountains.