Called the BHP Billiton Paediatric Centre of Excellence, the new seminal healthcare development was made possible by a generous donation of R20-million from natural resources company BHP Billiton, as well as contributions from an impressive list of sponsors that supplied the necessary material, medical equipment and expertise to furnish the building.
This is the first time the private sector and a television programme are supplying a fully-fledged hospital to the Department of Health.
The exceptional yet compact BHP Billiton Paediatric Centre of Health comprises of a high care unit, resuscitation room, emergency room, outpatient department, consulting rooms, specialist clinic, day ward, procedure room, isolation ward and two ICU units. Furthermore, the facility building was designed to create a practical nursing environment, while keeping in mind that the patients are children.
Breaking away from the depressing conventional environment of hospitals from the past, the BHP Billiton Centre of Excellence boasts vibrant colours and a playground where the children can forget about the stress of being ill. There is also a maximum penetration of natural light, high air volumes and sufficient natural ventilation that improves the management of infection control.
At the official handover ceremony, the MEC of Health in KZN, Dr Sibongiseni Dhlomo, complimented Carte Blanche and the private sector for the project that will positively impact on the quest to attain a long and healthy life for all South Africans. “As government, we are happy that we have partners that understand and accept that healthy equitable societies are characterised by an environment where children are able to grow into healthy, secure and productive adults.”
He added that these facilities “came at the right moment as our country is tasked with the responsibility of meeting the Millennium Development Goals, particularly MDG 4 that calls for the reduction of the child mortality ratio.”
M-Net’s CEO, Patricia van Rooyen, explained that the Carte Blanche 'making a difference' campaign started the project when “it became evident that an upgrade of the paediatrics facilities at the King Edward VIII, built in 1936, was desperately needed – as is the case with many time-worn healthcare institutions around the country.”
The dedicated paediatric staff of the King Edward VIII Hospital had to attend to complicated cases in a dark and gloomy dilapidated building, where much of the equipment was outdated or broken.
As King Edward VIII is a tertiary hospital, most of the patients attended to are children who have been referred to the hospital by general practitioners, paediatricians or other doctors. Children suffering from chronic illnesses also come to collect their medicine.
“The magnificent BHP Billiton Centre of Paediatric Excellence is much more than just a building for improved healthcare – it’s a beacon of hope for the future and a testimonial to the passion, dedication and vision of South Africans who believe that it is possible to make a difference.”
The BHP Billiton Centre of Paediatric Excellence is “a dream come true” for Carte Blanche’s executive producer George Mazarakis, who confirmed that in financial terms, the building is worth about three times what it has cost to construct; all because of the kindness of the contributions to the Carte Blanche 'making a difference' campaign.
The campaign was launched during Carte Blanche’s 20th birthday in 2008, when the hard-hitting actuality programme’s team of journalists decided not only to expose wrong-doings but also give back to the society we live in.
In less than four years, the Carte Blanche 'making a difference' campaign has raised in excess of R83-million to improve healthcare. “South Africans should see the BHP Billiton Paediatric Centre of Excellence as an example of how such childcare facilities should look like. We hope to continue to make a difference to the lives of children in this province and around the country”.
More about the Carte Blanche 'making a difference' trust and campaign:
Thus far, the Carte Blanche 'making a difference' trust has completed the following projects together with sponsors:
• The purchase and installation of a “heart-lung” machine in the Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital. This equipment is crucial during corrective surgery on the hearts of paediatric patients.
• The purchase and installation of a digital operating theatre in Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital.
• The purchase and installation of a second digital operating theatre, this time in Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.
• The installation of a Lodox full body scanner in Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital.
• The installation of a second Lodox full body scanner, this time in Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital (each unit is valued at over R4.2-million).
• The fulfillment of the entire original equipment wish list for Steve Biko Academic Hospital in Pretoria.
• The delivery in terms of refurbishment and equipment, of both a neonatal and a paediatric ICU to Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein.
• The creation, through the refurbishment and equipping of previously existing wards, of a paediatric ICU to Kimberley Hospital.
• The completion of the refurbishment and equipping of a Neonatal Operating Theatre Complex including a recovery room, high care area, and the creation of a satellite six-bed neonatal ICU at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
• The refurbishment and creation of a paediatric ICU, two high care wards, and paediatric doctors' rooms at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital.
• Two official handovers of equipment for the neonatal ICU of King Edward VIII Hospital in Durban.
• As an adjunct to this, they have also built a Paediatric Centre of Excellence at this hospital, which includes an ICU, high care ward, ambulatory ward, outpatients unit, as well as a small mother’s area and staff facilities. The BHP Billiton Paediatric Centre of Excellence handover took place on Tuesday, 5 June.
The Trust has commenced raising funds for the creation of an operating theatre and the expansion of the current general paediatric ward to increase capacity and to include post-surgical high care facilities at Frere Hospital, East London. This marks the seventh hospital in six cities nationwide that the Trust will be assisting.
The Trust has also completed several projects for the benefit of Johannesburg Child Welfare, Johannesburg Parent and Child Counseling Centre, and 1000 Hills Community Helpers.
Approximately R83-million has been raised since the inception of this campaign, excluding donations in materials.
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