In the Limelight: On time and below budget – Red Cross Children’s Hospital emergency unit – opens on February 24- 2022 – excellent governance, transparency and fundraising has made the 24 hour unit a great story

It was wonderful to be at the opening, today, February 24, 2022, of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital 24-hour emergency unit – https://thecaperobyn.co.za/good-health-red-cross-childrens-hospital-cape-townopens-upgraded-paediatric-emergency-centre-on-feb-24-2022/ The upgraded unit opened on time- and below budget. This is in year three of the pandemic. Think about that, for a moment. The building began in April 2019 and through the worldwide pandemic, the project went ahead. At the official opening, Chantel Cooper, CEO of The Children’s Hospital Trust, gave a shout-out to the staff – particularly to the nursing staff. They worked under pandemic conditions and had to also contend with a building site, drilling, dust and noise.

The Children’s Hospital Trust has worked for over three decades in fundraising for the hospital and has secured over a billion rand in funding. The upgraded emergency unit was made possible by R122 million- with the trust rallying for donations and bringing in donations from individuals and corporates. The Western Cape Government contributed R 1 164 193. Cooper and other speakers spoke about the essential partnering between parties – the hospital, government, business and community. The ebullient minister of health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo (Western Cape Provincial Minister of Health) charmed the crowd with her address. She was dressed in hospital scrubs and spoke about the Scrub Run – a fundraising fun run – which she does every year. She invited others to join her in the fun run. I loved the way she brought made her address personal and that she was able to shed her politician persona to drive the message of that the hospital requires ongoing donations to achieve its goals to continue providing top care – for – children and their families.


Raising money is not easy and in the time of Covid, it is not an easy gig at all. Excellent governance, transparency, accountability and oversight has made this project a success. It is a great story in a time, when we are hearing bad news. We are hearing horror stories about misappropriation of funds (private and public). We are being flooded with exposes about funding which has gone AWOL. No one has a clue as to the details. Whoosh- it’s gone. The take-home message today: In order to get investors and funders on board, we need to show results. The emergency unit is testament to a success story. Bravo to the Children’s Hospital Trust for bringing this project in – on time – and below budget. The opening ceremony was an indicator of its efficiency. The proceedings started on time. Speakers did not linger at the microphone. The speeches and quick video presentation clicked in, just under the scheduled time. Then it was time to have a tour of the emergency unit. The unit is beautifully kitted out – state-of-art equipment – with fabulous finishes (wards, offices) and communal areas – brightly coloured murals which also function as lights. There is a burns section; a section for intake of infection diseases (like Ebola). The unit is always open – 24 hours- 7 days a week – and the young patients are treated and then referred to wherever they need to go.


A moment that sent me reeling was when we were told about the Sexual Assault section in the emergency unit. What kind of a world, do we live in that we require a Sexual Assault section in a paediatric emergency unit?  I have no words. There is a police officer on site. Cases can be opened up at the hospital, so that the children and parents may action the legal aspects at the hospital. I thought that one has to lay a charge in the jurisdiction of the assault but presumably this can be overridden at the unit. The unit is called- Tutuzela (‘Comfort’. Nguni). I do not have words to comprehend the Tutuzela unit.  The Children’s Hospital Trust has many projects in the pipeline. Here is the donate link.https://www.childrenshospitaltrust.org.za/donate/

❇ Featured image: Dr Mbombo (Western Cape Provincial Minister of Health) and Chantel Cooper, CEO of The Children’s Hospital Trust. Pic © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, February 24, 2022.

Ribbon ceremony: Dr Nomafrench Mbombo in centre (in hospital scrubs), holding the ceremonial scissors for ribbon cutting, at the official opening, February 24, 2022, of the upgraded Paediatric Emergency Centre at The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, Cape Town. Dr Mbombo (Western Cape Provincial Minister of Health) is flanked on her left by Chantel Cooper, CEO of The Children’s Hospital Trust and on her right in blue suit, Alan Winde (Premier of the Western Cape). Pic: © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, February 24, 2022.
Gratitude: Tershia and Tyrone Africa, parents of Noah (sleeping in dad’s arms). Afte Noah was injured in a motor vehicle accident. An emotional Tersia was on the podium at the opening of the upgraded centre. She spoke about how nurtured that they felt as a family and that their son received outstanding care at the Emergency Centre at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital. Pic: © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, February 24, 2022.
Sponsors: The upgraded Paediatric Emergency Centre at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, was made possible by generous sponsors. This sign says it all. Pic: © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, February 24, 2022.
Volunteering: Volunteers are the life blood of public hospitals. Red Cross Hospital volunteer, Pippa Schou was on scissors duty. Luckily, she had a pair of ‘real’ scissors to cut the ribbon as the ceremonial scissors did not do the job of cutting the ribbon. Pic: © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, February 24, 2022.
Light and colour: The upgraded Paediatric Emergency Centre at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital – brightly coloured and filled with light. Pic: © TheCapeRobyn/Robyn Cohen, February 24, 2022.