What is NMCH?

● The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital is tertiary care, paediatric hospital that will provide highly specialised tertiary care.

● Tertiary care hospitals typically treat complex and sometimes rare conditions.

● NMCH will also be an academic hospital engaged in training and research Training at NMCH will build the capacity of the specialised care sector in South and Southern Africa. The Centres of Excellence will conduct research aimed at improving our understanding of these types of conditions in the hope that we may develop more effective treatments for them..

Why was NMCH built? Why is it a tertiary care, paediatric hospital?

● There are an estimated 450 million children and youth on the continent but only 4 specialised, paediatric hospitals.

● In South Africa, the tertiary paediatric care sector has the biggest backlog. Many children pass away whilst awaiting treatment and surgery.

What will NMCH offer?

● NMCH will be a 200-bed facility upon opening. Later expansion will allow the hospital to accommodate up to 300 beds.

● The hospital will also be able to accommodate out-patients in the areas of excellence that the hospital will specialise in; out-patients are patients who can receive treatment without needing to be admitted and kept at the hospital.

Why is NMCH in Johannesburg?

● During the feasibility study hospital location sites were identified and evaluated. This parcel of land fulfilled the requirements/criteria of the hospital best. NMCH is built on land generously donated by Wits University. Our location will allow for easy exchange of expert medical knowledge between our research facilities and the Wits Medical School.

● The existing Children’s Hospital, Red Cross Children’s Hospital, services the southern portion of the country. NMCH will service the northern South Africa as well as the Southern Africa region.

Will NMCH provide accommodation to families and caregivers of families?

● NMCH can accommodate a limited number of family individuals in the family accommodation on the opt floor of the hospital. The accommodation will be managed by Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) South Africa. This facility will be reserved for families who have travelled from afar, who need to spend an extended period of time at the Hospital, and who cannot afford private accommodation for this period. Admission will be subject to detailed policy criteria.


● The total cost of constructing, equipping and staffing the hospital is estimated at R1 billion. Thus far the project has progressed on budget.

● R880 million has been raised to date. About 60% of this amount has been raised in South Africa.

● South African children have themselves raised about R140 000 for NMCH through the For Kids By Kids fundraising initiative.

● The construction of NMCH has NOT diverted public funds away from other health care initiatives.

● Government has committed to funding the annual operational running costs of NMCH. Operations of NMCH will also NOT divert funding from government’s other healthcare commitments.

● There are still opportunities for people, corporates and other organisations to make donations at various levels.

● Anyone interested in making a major donation can contact the NMCH Trust team directly. The public can donate via EFT, SnapScan or SMS. A full list of donation portals can be found on our website at www.nelsonmandelachildrenshospital.org.

● To donate via text message SMS “GIFT” to 40301. SMS cost R20. Terms, conditions and administrative costs apply.

How do I know where my donation is going?

● NMCH prides itself on responsibility, accountability and transparency. We take the duty placed upon us by the South African people very seriously.

● Since being audited in 2012, we are happy to report that we have received a clean audit from the appointed firm. Our annual report is available on our website.

MANAGEMENT - Who owns/administers/operates NMCH?

● The Hospital project was initiated by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF). NMCF established the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust (NMCHT).

● The Trust is responsible for fundraising, advocacy, and the construction, acquisition and maintenance of activities of the facility and it remains a custodian of Hospital. The Trust is supported by Government but is not subject to it.

● NMCHT Chairperson: Graça Machel
● NMCHT Deputy Chair: Nana Magomola
● NMCHT CEO: Sibongile Mkhabela
● NMCHT Steering Committee Chair: Moss Ngoasheng
● NMCHT Fundraising Committee Chair: Tito Mboweni

● NMCH operations will be steered by the Hospital Board. The Board will comprise members nominated by NMCHT and by Government. The Board will appoint an Executive team (including the CEO, CFO and Heads of Clinical and Nursing Services) to take care of daily operations.

● The governance structure is designed to achieve inclusive representation of NMCHT’s strategic partners and ensure maximum and diverse skills representation.

● The Board ensures that NMCH enjoys the correct legal status, as well as VAT 7 tax compliance, NPO status and adherence to the King III code of corporate governance.


● We are currently in the process of recruiting SENIOR management of the hospital. Vacancies for other positions will be posted on the NMCH LinkedIn page and the NMCH website as they are finalised and different aspects of the Hospital start operations.

● Training and skills development is an important part of the hospital mandate as there is a shortage of Paediatric specialists.


● The National Skills Fund (NSF) has donated R76 million towards the training of nurses and doctors for the hospital.

● 266 nursing bursaries and 11 doctor fellowships have been awarded to date.

● Nursing bursaries have been awarded for undergraduate (starting from 2nd year of study) and postgraduate study.

● Doctor fellowships have only been awarded for postgraduates as they represent highly specialist positions, e.g. Paediatric Oncologist or Neonatal Cardiothoracic Surgeon.


NMCH will comprise 7 Centres of Excellence engaged in treatment and research in different paediatric subspecialties:

● Cardiology & Cardiothoracic Surgery (heart conditions & heart and chest surgery)
● Oncology & Haematology (cancer and blood disorders)
● Nephrology (kidney conditions)
● Pulmonology (lung & respiratory conditions)
● Craniofacial Surgery (skull and face surgery)
● Neurosciences (brain, spinal & nervous conditions)
● General Paediatric Surgery (various types of surgery related to various diseases or injuries)

How will the referral process work at the hospital?

● Patients must be referred to NMCH by appropriate healthcare workers in the public and private sector. Criteria will be applied to ensure that referrals are appropriate for NMCH. NMCH will use existing and established referral protocols for all patients

● The referral process will ensure that the patients who need tertiary care most urgently will receive it as soon as possible.

● NMCH will serve both private and public patients. Patients who have been referred to NMCH, and whose caregivers are unable to pay for treatment, will NOT be shown away. The costs of their treatment will be covered by the Hospital with the aid of funding from Government. Private patients will be paid by medical aid as normal.

How will you balance paying with non-paying patients?

Financial status will not be a consideration for admission AT ALL. Only clinical criteria will be taken into account. Our referral and admission process will stipulate these criteria very clearly and strict supervision over the process will ensure that it is executed correctly.

Can NMCH help us with funding?

NMCH can NOT act as a fundraising agent for or donor to other institutions or organisations. We may form partnerships or initiatives with other groups in order to build local healthcare capacity, facilitate knowledge exchange, etc. according to specific policies and reviews.


What is the purpose of this event?

It is a showcase of the progress that has been made since construction began in 2014. We have invited children, donors, trustees, strategic partners to thank them for their contribution to the project.

We are also using this opportunity to create public awareness of the status of the project by inviting local and international media to document the progress that has been made.

We are also celebrating the end of the construction phase, the near completion of commissioning phase (installation and implementation of protocols and programmes) and the initiation of the team building and staff on-boarding phase. Above all, we are celebrating Madiba’s living legacy on the eve of the 3rd anniversary of his passing.

How was the guest list determined?

We invited children, donors, partners and officials that have been most intimately involved with the project, and who are directly responsible for our current and future success.

We would have loved to share the NMCH project on site with every South African, but of course we have limited resources. We hope that the large and diverse media contingent present here today will do much to bring NMCH to the rest of South Africa and the world.

Is the hospital opening for patients?

NMCH is not yet open to receive patients. Now that construction is complete, the next phase of getting the Hospital ready will start. This includes finalising clinical protocols and programmes, staff training & induction, implementing business processes and evaluating safety and readiness before treatment starts.

Treatment and services will start in phases to ensure safety and manageability. We are aiming to begin treatment in the second quarter of 2017, beginning with dialysis and radiology services first.


What do you mean by "referral-only" hospital?

While no child will be turned away due to their inability to pay for the healthcare provided by NMCH, admissions will be through direct referrals from paediatric specialists only.

How can I get my child admitted to NMCH?

Your child must be referred to the hospital through your child’s doctors and/or specialists that have been managing the case.

If I am from outside of Gauteng and my child is referred to NMCH, who will cover the cost of transport?

You will be responsible for the costs to transport your child to NMCH in Johannesburg.

Is there any accommodation available at NMCH for parents from outside of Johannesburg?

Ronald McDonald House Charities will provide accommodation for a limited number of visiting parents to the hospital. More information will be available once the hospital is completed.

Will the hospital have an emergency room?

The hospital will have a small emergency unit that will stabilise and transfer patients to nearby hospitals. The hospital will provide specialised paediatric care on a referral basis through its centres of excellence, which are: Haematology & Oncology; Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery; Neurosciences; Renal; Endocrine; Craniofacial; and Paediatric Surgery.

What about primary and secondary healthcare?

Primary and secondary healthcare facilities will continue to be taken care of by the State. It was found that the biggest backlog is in the treatment of level-3 (tertiary) care for children. For example, at one South African hospital, there is an estimated backlog of 300 children awaiting cardiac surgery. This could result in some of them dying without this needed surgery.

How will the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital affect funding for other hospitals?

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) does not aim to compete with other hospitals – it will complement them and their work in paediatric medicine, and will not affect funding initiatives for other South African hospitals.

Who will fund the running of the Hospital?

Capital funding of NMCH will come entirely from donors, and once the Hospital has been established, its operational expenditure will be funded by the National Department of Health, through the Treasury funding regulations.

How did you choose the Centres of Excellence?

Research and consultation with various clinical specialists showed that the biggest gap in paediatric healthcare, therefore the biggest need, was in treating conditions associated with certain specialities. NMCH will have the following Centres of Excellence: Haematology & Oncology; Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery; Neurosciences; Renal; Endocrine; Craniofacial; and Paediatric Surgery.

If it’s for Southern Africa, why have the Hospital in South Africa?

NMCH will be in Parktown near Wits Medical School in Johannesburg. Gauteng is the hub of South Africa and many developments in Southern Africa. South Africa has among the best healthcare professionals in the world, and with the Hospital in Gauteng, it will mean patients have access to world-class health care through NMCH’s collaboration with other medical institutions. In addition, Johannesburg being the hub of South Africa and a gateway to the region means the Hospital will be easily accessible by public transport and by air.

Why have a dedicated children’s hospital?

Children’s healthcare needs are different from those of adults, and having a dedicated facility that caters for children (from neonates up to a 14 year old), as opposed to a paediatric centre in an “adult” hospital, means NMCH will be a child-friendly environment with an ethos focussed on a well-rounded healing experience for children. It also ensures that the Hospital is specifically designed and equipped for their needs.

How were the architects chosen?

Architects from around the world, with children’s hospital design experience, were invited to be part of an architectural design competition, where the most-qualified bidders were chosen to present design proposals. A panel of qualified professionals from various industries then scored them and the top four bidders were interviewed. The collective that was chosen consists of Sheppard Robson and John Cooper Architecture (both from the UK), working with GAPP Architects and Ruben Reddy Architects (both from South Africa). The collaboration with South African architects was to bring capacity to the local industry and ensure that it conforms to local conditions and meets statutory architectural requirements.

The hospital costs appear to be high in comparison with other hospitals. Why is this?

Tertiary services are expensive by their nature, and paediatric tertiary services are even more expensive. This is due to the high-tech equipment required to diagnose and treat children. The costs for NMCH are on par with international norms.

How will the NMCH be staffed?

Management: An executive team (consisting of a CEO, CFO, COO, Head of Nursing, Head of Clinical Services and so forth) will be appointed to manage the day-to-day operations of the hospital. This team will report to a hospital board of directors, which has already been established.

Clinical staff will be jointly appointed with the provincial Department of Health, and would be augmented, where required, by expertise from the private sector. Nursing staff and allied workers will be employed by NMCH. Non-core services will be outsourced to an appropriate hospital management company. The severe shortage of paediatric specialists and nurses has a direct correlation to the cost of training and retaining these professionals.

How will NMCH change the lives of children?

There are nearly 450 million children in Africa, and only four children’s hospitals – two in Cairo, one in Kenya and one in Cape Town. The children of Africa have limited access to paediatric care as it is, and without the NMCH, a countless number of children could die due to an inability to afford or access healthcare facilities.

NMCH will also create capacity in the region so that more children can be treated, the waiting lists will be shorter, and reduce the child mortality rate.