Mandela visits site of new children's hospital at Wits

Former president Nelson Mandela visited the proposed site of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital at the University of the Witwatersrand’s education campus in Johannesburg on Friday, a spokesperson said.

“A children’s hospital will be a credible demonstration of the commitments of African leaders to place the rights of children at the forefront. Nothing less would be enough,” Mandela said.

Wits spokesperson Shirona Patel said university was making available 34 750 square metres of land on the north-west corner of its education campus in Parktown.

This site is next to its teacher training facilities and near the Wits medical school.

“It is envisaged that the hospital will be built at a cost of R800-million and that approximately R422-million will be required to sustain it annually,” said Patel.

She said it would have 200 to 300 beds and seven units: haematology and oncology; neuroscience; endocrine and diabetes; paediatric surgery; cardiology and cardio-thoracic surgery; kidney; and craniofacial.

Hundreds of children turned out for the event, as well as singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Deputy Minister of Health Dr Molefi Sefularo, Gauteng health minister Qedani Mahlangu, Wits vice-chancellor and principal Professor Loyiso Nongxa, and Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund trustees board chairperson Dikgang Moseneke and its chief executive Sibongile Mkhabela.

“There is no better opportunity for our leaders and the health fraternity to stand united in demonstrating the urgency of putting children first, than in the realisation of a child-centred specialist referral hospital whose teaching and training components have the potential to extend the scope of both the much needed knowledge and human resources to child-centred care,” said Mkhabela.

“This step brings the country and the continent a little closer to meeting its increasing healthcare demands,” he said. - Sapa

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