Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund takes a great leap forward in its plans to establish the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital
The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, a charity established by former President Nelson Mandela as his commitment to children in 1995, has for the past years, been engaged in plans to establish a the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) Project spearheaded by its chief Executive Officer, Sibongile Mkhabela.
To give increased focus towards realizing a dream that would fittingly be an expression of Mandela’s legacy on the health front, in the form of an academic tertiary and quaternary referral for all sick children of Southern Africa, the NMCF Board of Trustees has seconded CEO Sibongile Mkhabela to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust for the next two years with effect from November 1 2010.
Acting as NMCF CEO with effect from November 1, while Mkhabela is on secondment to the NMCH Project, will be Programmes Director Moipone Buda-Ramatlo. Buda-Ramatlo retains her Programmes Director position while acting as NMCF CEO.
Mkhabela has been seconded to the Nelson Mandela Hospital Trust to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust charged with the responsibility to bring to fruition the dream of this legacy project. The NMCH Trust is chaired by Graca Machel. Other trustees include Prosano curator Joe Seloane, Steve Biko foundation chair Ish Mkhabela, NMCF Trustees Irene Menell, Charles Priebatsch and Shirley Mabusela and Safika executive chairman Moss Ngoasheng
Announcing her secondment to NMCF staff yesterday, Mkhabela said she was confident that Buda-Ramatlo has depth of support from NMCF management to carry forward the organisation’s recently launched corporate strategy for the period 2010-2015 to build a child-centred rights based movement.
Being a second dedicated children’s hospital in South Africa, after the Red Cross Children’s Hospital in the Western Cape, the NMCH will be the first of its kind to provide specialist health services for children within the South African Development Community (SADC) region with a combined population of 448 million.
Support for the children’s hospital comes from a broad spectrum of stakeholders including National and Provincial health departments as well as local and international foundations and academic institutions. As a research and academic institution, the hospital will be located within the University of Witwatersrand (WITS) education campus site.
The academic platform will be led by WITS with the involvement of other medical faculties for purposes of also training paediatric doctors and nursing professionals. Its research will place the hospital at the forefront of paediatric medicine globally.
At site dedication ceremony held at Wits education campus to coincide with Mandela’s 91st birthday in July, last year, Mandela said: “The establishment of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund will be a credible demonstration of African leaders to put children’s first.”
Currently there are only four dedicated children’s hospital within the African continent- two in Egypt, one in Kenya and one in Cape Town serving a population of almost 1 billion people. The proposal to establish a dedicated children’s hospital in South Africa’s economic hub of Gauteng is therefore well founded especially if it is taken into consideration that there are 19 children’s hospitals in Australia, 20 in Germany and 23 in Canada.
Committing themselves to the gigantic task of meeting children’s health demands and building the Nalson Mandela Children’s Fund as an exemplary NGO of international repute, both Mkhabela and Buda-Ramatlo echoed the NMCF Founder Mandela’s words: “There is no better way to taking a step further to changing the way society treats its children than positioning the mission of the two entities, the NMCF and the NMCH, on a higher complementary gear.”