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Take a look back and see all that you've helped us accomplish over the last 20 years.

The Children’s Hospital Trust was founded

The Children’s Hospital Trust was established after the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital was threatened with closure due to lack of funding. Since then, the Trust has assisted the Hospital by funding their identified priority capital, equipment, research and training projects. The Trust also funds paediatric healthcare projects beyond the Hospital’s doors – all of which have an immense impact on the lives of young patients in Southern Africa and Africa.


Staff Education Centre

(January 1998 – November 2001)

This new building features: a large Function Room; a library; lecture/training theatres; a kitchen; dining room; offices and storage areas.

Re-development of Specialist Outpatients Department

(1998 – 2001)

The Outpatients Building was built to replace the dilapidated pre-fabricated buildings that had been erected over the years. The Outpatients Department includes: the allergy clinic; medical and surgical consultation clinics; ear, nose and throat clinics; speech and hearing clinic; cardiology unit; a clinical suite for social workers; neurology clinic; eye clinic; stomatherapy clinic; women’s health clinic; transport unit; dental clinic; occupational therapy; staff training facilities; childcare information clinic; staff communal facilities; physiotherapy centre; early childhood development centre; patient education centre; shortstay/overnight observation unit and the medical emergency unit; echocardiology clinic; social work services department; rehydration ward; staff and parents facilities; medical records; day surgery centre – and the link building, creating a ground and first floor passage between the new Outpatients Department and the main Hospital.

Parents Accommodation upgrade and extension

(January 1998 – November 2001)

This upgrade and extension to the Parents Accommodation provided accommodation for 60 parents/caregivers with: a dining room; lounge; kitchen; laundry and ablution facilities.


(January 1998 – November 2001)

A pharmacy was created with more dispensary points to assist more parents at the same time. A larger waiting room and play area for the children was also built.


Medical Records relocation

(September 2001 – November 2001)

In order to provide a space for the new Trauma Unit, the Nursing Administration offices needed to be moved – from the Ground floor in the Hospital into the Outpatients link building, where the Medical Records Department was situated. A new building was built next to the Day Surgery Unit so that the Medical Records Department could be relocated.

New Integrated Intensive Care Unit – building and equipping

(November 1999 – April 2001)

The Hospital decided to consolidate the various Intensive Care Units in the various disciplines into one unit in order to provide the best possible patient care. As such, an 26-bed high-level Intensive Care Unit was created.


Specialist Medical Ward E2 Upgrade – building and equipping

(November 2002 – May 2003)

The Specialist Medical Ward was one of the in patient areas that was in desperate need of upgrading.  It was one of only a few specialist renal paediatric facilities in Africa at the time performing paediatric renal transplants, and the only centre for paediatric liver transplants in South Africa.

Combined Medical Emergency Unit

(August 2003 – July 2004)

It was planned for the Medical Emergency Unit to include the relocation of the Trauma Unit (a shared reception area and the extension of the existing Medical Emergency Unit). The Trauma Unit sees patients with head injuries, poly-traumatised children, children with orthopaedic injuries and an increasing number of children with non-accidental injuries.

Medical Emergency sees medical emergency cases and the children who are referred from primary healthcare facilities. This area also included the Overnight Observation Ward and the Rehydration Unit, where children with acute, but short-term illnesses (largely respiratory infections and acute dehydrating diarrhoeal diseases) are treated.


Infectious Diseases Laboratory Upgrade

(August 2004 – December 2004)

This new facility situated in the Institute of Child Health building at the Hospital allows for relevant clinical research to be conducted in the laboratory. The upgrade of the facility allowed for improved models of care for HIV-infected children, providing clinical leadership to fellow clinicians in Africa. The new facility is also used to manage children with other specialised infectious disease problems. The improved space provides for an easy work flow and the laboratory is accredited, offering a controlled laboratory environment.


Visiting Doctors’ Accommodation

(April 2005 – July 2005)

There was an urgent need to upgrade the existing doctors’ rooms on the first floor of the Nurses Home, to provide suitable accommodation for visiting doctors – many of whom deliver their services on a voluntary basis. Two single flatlets and two double flatlets were upgraded.

Oncology Unit with in-Sanctuary – building and equipping

(October 2004 – December 2005)

The paediatric Oncology Unit at the Hospital is the oldest in Southern Africa. It is regarded as one of the leading referral centres in Africa for children with cancer and blood diseases. The existing Oncology Unit had very limited space. A new inpatient wing was created, the existing Oncology Unit was demolished internally and a new outpatients wing was built. The Sanctuary was also created by refurbishing the old Trauma Ward. This inter-denominational area provides a caring space where grieving or traumatised families and staff can deal with their emotional state, either through counselling or spiritual quietness. The Sanctuary also leads out into a peaceful and enclosed garden, which is available to all requiring solace.

Upgrade of Doctors’ quarters in the Hospital

(April-May 2005)

The on call doctors sleep in the Hospital. Hospital Management requested a minimal upgrade to the doctors’ living quarters to make them more inhabitable.


Upgrade of Hospital East and North façade

(March 2006 – December 2006)

The extension of the East and North Hospital façade brought the whole façade out to the same level. This was beneficial, as it meant an increase in the square meterage of all the ward floors to allow for additional bed space.

Upgrade of Ward E1

(October 2005 – June 2006)

The prime function was to provide suitable accommodation for Cardiology and ENT/ Tracheostomy patients. These patients have varying ventilation requirements and ward stay could be long term.


African Paediatric Fellowship Programme (APFP)


Globally, childhood illness is a major cause of mortality and morbidity. The World Health Organisation estimates that approximately 10,6 million children under 5 years of age die each year. The APFP programme was created to develop capacity in clinical services, research and training in child health in Africa. The programme aims to train African fellows, in highly specialised paediatric skills, that would improve the training and health delivery offered by their home institutions. By growing this into a network of skilled African healthcare professionals, they are empowering skilled healthcare professionals to advocate for building capacity and improving child health in Africa.


Child Nurse Practice Development Initiative

(2008 – 2018)

With the serious shortage of trained paediatric nurses in Africa, and the specialised care of seriously ill children under threat, the Hospital began a paediatric Nurse Training Programme. The overall goal of this programme is to increase the number of qualified paediatric nurses to provide a better quality of care for sick children. Through a partnership with the University of Cape Town’s Department of Nursing, the School of Child and Adolescent Health, and the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, they offer a full-time one year hospital-based postgraduate course leading to registration as paediatric nurses with the Health Professional Council of South Africa.


Ward D2 Surgical Ward Upgrade

(April 2008 – March 2009)

This Ward is a busy surgical ward with over 220 admissions per calendar month. The patients include elective/emergency surgery, as well as day cases.

Family Resource Centre

(September 2008 – June 2009)

The Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association (The Friends or FOCHA) is a non-profit organisation registered with the Department of Social Development and has been a support organisation to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital since 1978. The Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association is committed to alleviating the traumatic hospitalisation experience of patients and their caregivers by supporting and providing benefits and amenities. The fundraising project included providing support to the various projects of the Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

D3 Pola Pasvolsky Lecture Theatre – building and equipping

(June 2008 – May 2009)

The upgrade was to allow for the increase in capacity, from 100 to 144 seats, and to provide better acoustics and audio-visual equipment. There is a digital link with the new Operating Theatres to enable interactive, visual communication with the surgeon inside the operating theatre.

Operating Theatre Complex – building & equipping

(July 2007 – November 2009)

In August 2006 the Trust launched O.P.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. Theatre. This high profile fundraising campaign, in partnership with the Cape Argus, encouraged the South African public to help raise the final R10 million needed to start building Phase One of the project. The R125 million target was reached and building commenced in March 2007, with final completion in 2009. The upgrade from four to eight new theatres has provided each surgical speciality their own operating theatre, and included the new Central Processing Department, MRI Unit and the Anaesthetic Suites.


Waiting Area of Outpatients S26 Neurology & Cardiology department – building and equipping

(November 2009 – February 2010)

This waiting area was created in the Outpatients building to provide more waiting space for the Neurology and Cardiology patients. Equipment was also purchased and murals painted to brighten up the area.

D1 Specialist Surgical Ward Upgrade – building and equipping

(March 2010 – September 2010)

Children are admitted to this ward in significant numbers before and after their surgical procedures. The ward caters for more patients than any other in patient ward in the Hospital. Ward D1 had not been upgraded since the Hospital was built in 1956, and was unable to meet modern surgical and nursing standards. Hospital staff members strive to provide the best possible medical, surgical and nursing care with the shortest hospitalisation. To achieve this effectively and efficiently, Ward D1 urgently required an upgrade.


Expanded reach to Paediatric Healthcare in the Western Cape

In 2011 the Children’s Hospital Trust expanded its funding reach to projects beyond the Hospital’s doors within the Western Cape, which will greatly impact paediatric healthcare and indirectly impact patient outcomes and services to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

The School of Adolescent & Child Health (SCAH) Learning Centre, 3rd floor ICH Building

(July 2011 – December 2011)

There was a need to relocate joint medical staff members that were occupying offices in the Nurses Home and the Child Health Unit at Rondebosch Mowbray Hospital, as well as to provide space for the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery. Nine offices were upgraded and a tearoom and kitchenette were provided.

Saturday Surgeries Waiting List Relief Initiative

(2011 – 2013)

Due to the Hospital’s excellent reputation for healing critically ill children, there is a huge demand for the Hospital’s services resulting in long surgical waiting lists for non-critical conditions. The Children’s Hospital Trust launched the annual Saturday Surgeries Initiative to clear the waiting lists for ENT, General Paediatric and Plastic Clinical cases at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.

Upgrade of Specialist Burns Unit – building and equipping

(October 2010 – September 2011)

As the only dedicated paediatric burns specialist unit in Africa, more than 3 500 children with serious burns are treated at the Hospital every year. 85% of the patients are younger than six and 98% are from disadvantaged communities. The C2 Burns Unit was upgraded to provide better patient outcomes and emotional support to the children, significantly reduce the risk of cross-infection, improve long-term rehabilitation for patients, and better conditions for children and their parents, to contribute to the positive prognosis of the patient.

Surgical Skills Training Centre - building and equipping

(September 2010 – October 2011)

The Surgical Skills Training Centre is the first of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa, providing African and local surgeons and physicians the opportunity to train in endoscopic (minimally invasive/keyhole) surgery, advanced paediatric MIS and other clinically important skills. The Centre will be used for those training in specialities other than surgery too, such as local anaesthesia workshops, basic surgical skills courses for medical students and junior registrars, lumber punctures and venous access techniques. The Centre was built as a multi-functional area to maximise its usage.

Equipping four specialist ambulances for dedicated paediatric use only

(March 2011 – October 2011)

Metro Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is the Department of Health’s ambulance service, providing emergency care to the people of the Western Cape. They take over 40 000 emergency calls per month and do 5 000 paediatric transfers per year, including transfers to the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. The quality of these transfers directly impacts on the medical state of a patient upon arrival at the Hospital (or any other clinical destination) and their overall prognosis. The Children’s Hospital Trust fundraised to equip four ambulances with specialised paediatric equipment.


Upgrade of B1 Medical Ward – building and equipping

(October 2011 – May 2012)

Medical Wards B1 & B2 are extremely busy wards specialising in general medical patients, infectious patients, and patients with chronic illnesses. They offer the best clinical care with the shortest hospitalisation possible, providing training and teaching of all categories for staff and families, with the active involvement in research as well as rehabilitation. The upgrades will significantly reduce the risk of cross-infection and provide better conditions for children whilst admitted, as well as increased emotional support for the children and their parents.

Migrating the Poisons Information Centre to an online-based platform


The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital is the only institution in South Africa that gathers and collates poisons information. Maintaining this national resource requires special skills, human resource capacity, and equipment. An updated database system with internet access was required as the Poisons Information Database was in danger of becoming out-dated if it could not keep up with the technological requirements. To date, the system holds data on over 40 000 named toxins.

Breatheasy Programme: Providing specialised tracheostomy & ventilation equipment for children

(2012 – 2014)

For many children the simple act of breathing is difficult or impossible. Children with severe breathing difficulties require tracheostomies (a hole in their throat to breathe) or permanent ventilation. Without home-care programmes and family training, anxious parents and their children may be separated from one another for long periods of time whilst these patients remain confined to a hospital. Your support will go towards purchasing vital medical equipment such as ventilators, suction machines and humidifiers. Armed with knowledge and a ‘mother’s love’ these parents can take their young children home to heal and recover. Please help us reunite families and give children their childhood back.


Centre for Childhood Infectious Diseases


The Centre for Childhood Infectious Diseases (CCID) and the Research Centre for Adolescent and Child Health (REACH) was built to house the activities of the existing Paediatric Infectious Diseases Unit and the Clinical Research Unit at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. This new facility is the first paediatric clinical research centre in a children’s hospital in South Africa. The CCID will continue to assist in the development of provincial, national and global treatment guidelines for children with infectious diseases.

Upgrading the Paediatric Ward of Victoria Hospital – building and equipping

(March 2013 – January 2014)

The Paediatric Ward and Outpatients Department at Victoria Hospital in Wynberg, Cape Town was upgraded. Young patients from the largest sub-district in the Cape Metro area will now receive specialist medical care in modernised, spacious facilities with adequate isolation cubicles. Parents will have the space and amenities to comfortably stay overnight, which was previously not possible due to space constraints in the ward. This renovation at Victoria Hospital is the Children’s Hospital Trust’s first completed building project outside the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, since expanding its funding reach to paediatric healthcare needs in the Western Cape.

Upgrade of B2 Medical Ward – building and equipping

(July 2012 – January 2013)

Ward B2 is general ward that accommodates a range of children with a wide variety of medical problems such as: acute respiratory infections, malnutrition, diarrhoeal disease, infectious diseases and chronic non-communicable diseases. Phase two of this upgrade will allow a four-bed ward and a parents’ room to be built where the Nuclear Medicine Department is currently housed. This department will move into the new Radiology Complex building on the ground floor of the Hospital when it is built.


Building a New Radiology Complex – building and equipping

(September 2013 – July 2015)

The practices of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital provide a service to all departments, clinics and wards in the Hospital 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. They are often crucial in assessing the nature of illness or trauma in children. They are also a window into the body, and within minutes, provide specialists with a clear picture of what treatment plan each patient requires. However, with the dedicated teams currently split between 3 floors and 3 sites, together with space limitations, their efficiency, access, staff management – and the flow of an ever-increasing patient load – is severely compromised.

The Sarah Fox Convalescent Children’s Hospital Inpatient Paediatric Palliative Care Service

(2013 – 2014)

No child should have to face the prospect of dying. Sadly however this is a reality for some families and cannot be ignored. More than 80 000 children and infants in the Western Cape alone have life-limiting or life-threatening illnesses, which require long term or palliative care. There is a dire need for step-down inpatient care at a community level to support and prepare families to care for their children. The Sarah Fox Convalescent Children’s Hospital is well positioned to develop this inpatient hospice unit for children. To palliate is to relieve or soothe the symptoms of a disease without curing. A way of making the days count, rather than counting the days.

Woolworths Childsafe Research and Educational Centre – building and equipping

(September 2013 – April 2014)

Every year in Southern Africa, more than 8 000 children and adolescents between the ages of 1 and 14 years die as a result of unintentional injuries, which could have been prevented. The Woolworths Childsafe Research and Educational Centre built at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital will house experienced staff who focus on improving child safety and injury prevention. The centre will offer education and skills training programmes to patients’ families, as well as the general public on child safety. The centre will host a ‘Safety Demonstration House’ where parents/care-givers can learn how to best assemble their home (particularly bathrooms and kitchens) to prevent injuries.

St Joseph’s Paediatric Rehabilitation Programme

(2013 – 2015)

Currently in the Western Cape, there are no inpatient rehabilitation services dedicated to children at a community level. St Joseph’s for Chronically Ill Children, which is based in Montana Cape Town, is ideally suited to meet this very need. They have therapeutic staff members (occupational therapists, speech therapists and physiotherapists) and additional bed capacity. They will set aside up to 25 of their 130 beds to this dedicated service.

Parents Accommodation Upgrade – building and equipping

(June 2014 – November 2014)

At the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital dedicated staff know that there is more to healing children than medication and treatment – more often, a mother’s touch is just what the doctor ordered ...

Situated on the grounds of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, the existing accommodation for parents offers them the precious opportunity to be near their children during their stay in hospital. Due to the increase in demand, however, there is a critical need to increase the capacity of the out-dated accommodation to house the many parents needing to stay overnight, or for as long as their children are in hospital.