Red Cross unveils new emergency centre

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the newly upgraded children’s hospital emergency centre, from left, are head of department for the provincial Department of Health Dr Keith Cloete, Children’s Hospital Trust CEO Chantel Cooper, hospital CEO Dr Anita Parbhoo, Health MEC Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, head of nursing at the hospital Mitzi Franken, chairperson of the Children’s Hospital Trust Randal Titus and Premier Alan Winde.

The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital launched its newly upgraded emergency centre on Thursday February 24.

It took three years to complete and was made possible by the R122 million raised by the Children’s Hospital Trust, which included private donations and more than R1 million from the provincial government.

Hospital CEO Dr Anita Parbhoo paid tribute to the donors and all the work that went into the project.

“I want to thank all the team members in the hospital who have come together and worked towards planning a physical space in the hospital that will provide hope and optimism and help us to fulfil children’s rights, to ensure we treat our patients and their families with dignity and respect,” she said.

Chantel Cooper, the CEO of the Children’s Hospital Trust, said they wanted the emergency centre to be a safe and comfortable place for parents and children, where staff had what they needed to save lives.

“Partnerships is what makes this work,” she said. “We have a good relationship with the provincial health department and the children’s hospital who have given their trust to allow us to focus on paediatric care.”

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo thanked the Children’s Hospital Trust for all their fund-raising work and said the new facility would give hospital staff more space to work and reassure parents that their children were being taken care of.

One parent who was at the launch, Tersia Africa, and her family saw first hand how efficient the new emergency centre is when six months ago an ambulance brought her son, Noah, 2, to the hospital after they were in a car accident in Mitchell’s Plain.

“I was so stressed and traumatised as my son had abrasions from the accident, and my husband, Tyrone, was sent to another hospital,” she said.

Ms Africa’s son was taken care of in the completed part of the emergency centre while the rest of the facility was still undergoing work at the time. “The doctors and nurses reassured me that Noah will be okay, and he is in good hands and the staff gave 100% in caring for Noah,” she said.

Premier Alan Winde said the children’s hospital stood as a beacon of hope for the 250 000 patients it saw annually. “This work does not come easy,” he said. “The Children’s Hospital Trust has built partnerships for nearly 30 years to build a world-class facility.”

The new emergency centre includes a burns-treatment room; specialised care units; two decontamination rooms with a separate entrance from the outside; a calming room; two isolation cubicles; a child-protection room; a family-counselling room; a separate triage area; a lift from the emergency centre directly to operating theatres and ICU; adjacent medical and trauma resuscitation areas; spacious, comfortable waiting areas for families; and improved staff and teaching facilities.

Dr Heloise Buys, the hospital’s head of ambulatory and emergency services, said they were very grateful for a state-of-the-art emergency centre. “It has been a dream for a long time. This centre is specially designed for children; everything in this centre is towards good management of the child.”

Sister Zanie Nxumalo, from the medical emergency department, said it was previously much harder to work in a tighter space. “With this new facility, it will allow all our patients to have good care in a beautiful place with dignity.”

Dr Shirani Naido, left, and Dr Heloise Buys in the new emergency centre’s burns-treatment room.
Sister Zanie Nxumalo, left, and Sister Sandra Swart operating the new endoscope in the urgent treatment and resuscitation room.
Tyrone and Tersia Africa with their son, Noah, in front of the children’s hospital’s new emergency centre.