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Twenty years of caring for SA’s sick kids – For the love of children

The Children’s Hospital Trust is celebrating its 20th birthday today. It’s not surprising that it’s a celebration that coincides with Valentine’s Day, as it also tells a remarkable love story. It’s a story that spans twenty years of successful fundraising – for the love of the children – at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital and for the past three years, for broader paediatric healthcare in the Western Cape. 

100% for the kids

It is the generosity and support of donors that has made it possible to serve the medical needs of Africa’s sickest children. The Trust’s 20th birthday celebrates the collective achievements with donors and partners, who have all contributed to giving back childhood to thousands of children, with the added assurance that 100% of all donations go directly to critical needs in paediatric healthcare.

Looking back

This love story flourished in 1994, when the future of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital was threatened with closure due to lack of funding. A core group of concerned physicians and administrators at the Hospital spearheaded a committee that leveraged their networks to raise money. This ad hoc committee was the driving force behind saving the Hospital and formed the Children’s Hospital Trust. As we look back on 20 years of developing a state-of-the-art facility in partnership with the Western Cape Government: Health and rolling out integral projects and programmes, it is evident that donors and supporters are driven by the same belief that every child deserves quality healthcare regardless of their life map. 

The Journey back to Childhood

The Children’s Hospital Trust is compelled by its commitment to get children back home where they belong – safe from injury and the burden of disease that is rife on the African continent. The Trust believes that every day spent in hospital is a day less of childhood, which underpins their theme for 2014 – the ‘Journey back to Childhood’

The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital does not operate in isolation, but rather within a health ‘ecosystem’ that starts at a community clinic level and progresses to specialist hospital care. A child’s journey through the healthcare system is therefore often dependent on the quality of care they receive from more than one medical intervention. This could range from preventative programmes, to primary healthcare clinics, general practitioners, hospitals, specialist treatment and even rehabilitation or end-of-life care. The Children’s Hospital Trust is simultaneously fundraising for paediatric projects and programmes within each one of these areas.

Beyond the Hospital

Through funding gaps in paediatric healthcare, the Children’s Hospital Trust is able to impact more broadly on the quality of healthcare for children at more community touch-points. This has resulted in even more children being granted the best possible chance of living the life they were destined for. Projects and programmes prioritised by the Trust will always impact directly on child healthcare and indirectly on services and outcomes at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. 

Milestones of impact

Critical projects and programmes fundraised for by the Children’s Hospital Trust has resulted in high-level medical training of surgeons and nurses, both locally and internationally. Funds raised since inception in 1994 amount to more than R520million, all for the benefit of improving child healthcare in and beyond the doors of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

The Children’s Hospital Trust’s has fundraised for projects and programmes that have had global reach in regard to ground-breaking research into childhood illnesses, training of medical professionals and the development of treatment models for paediatric infectious diseases. 

Some of the Children’s Hospital Trust’s major building projects in the last two years include:
  • Ward upgrades at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital to renovate and extend the out-dated wards, each focused on different sub-specialties in paediatrics.
  • Building and equipping of a Surgical Skills Training Centre at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, to provide a training facility for surgeons and clinicians in paediatric and adult endoscopic surgery – the first of its kind in Africa.
  • The Centre for Childhood Infectious Diseases and the Research Centre for Adolescent and Child Health opened in October 2013 at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital and was made possible by the Children’s Hospital Trust through raising the funds needed, project management and equipment.
  • The upgrade of the 84-year-old paediatric ward at Victoria Hospital, to improve care and service for patients, parents and staff.
  • Building underway at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital for a Childsafe Research and Educational Centre for prevention of intentional and unintentional injuries of all severity to children.
  • Construction taking place at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital to build and equip a R51million Radiology Complex to house the existing Radiology and Nuclear Medicine departments. 
Twenty years later

The Children’s Hospital Trust is recognised both locally and globally as a strategic and innovative fundraising organisation with an exemplary track record in donor stewardship. This was evidenced most recently when CEO, Louise Driver, was named Southern Africa Fundraiser of the Year at the 2013 Southern Africa Institute of Fundraising Convention and then received the Global Fundraiser Award soon after at Resource Alliance’s International Fundraising Congress in the Netherlands. 

Thank You

Louise Driver, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Trust says, “The words ‘Thank You’ will never be enough to relay our gratitude for the unwavering support we have received every single year since the Children’s Hospital Trust was established in 1994. Giving back childhood to thousands of children is a legacy we can all be proud of. We have an incredible public-private partnership with the Western Cape Government: Health and our many donors including charitable trusts and foundations, companies and their staff, schools, clubs, societies, and so many individual donors from our communities. Our heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to each and every one.” 

To view the gallery of the 20th Birthday Celebrations click here



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