Partnership with Canada helps builds capacity for Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital in South Africa


In May 1995, former South African President Nelson Mandela launched the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, laying out a vision of hope for the children of Southern Africa. He began his speech with the words, “There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”

In December 2016, a key component of his vision was realized as the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust celebrated the completion of the building and equipment installation of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH). This was, in part, thanks to a strategic partnership with The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) to help to improve access to paediatric care for children in Southern Africa. Through the partnership signed in April 2016 and funded by the Government of Canada’s Department of Global Affairs Canada, SickKids is providing capacity-building support to NMCH. This support includes technical assistance on the recruitment and training of key operational and clinical staff, establishment of governance and management structures and the sharing of clinical and research expertise.

“This hospital was a promise we made, and thanks to strategic planning and efforts of our team, working side-by-side with our partners from SickKids, we have been able to come together as a global community and realize Madiba’s dream, for all of the children of Southern Africa,” says Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust. “We had the vision, and the support of our community and thanks to SickKids and the Government of Canada, we have now been able to fill some gaps in our expertize so that the hospital, which will be officially opening for patients later this year will provide world class, cutting edge health care to the children that need it most.”
As the largest paediatric academic health sciences centre in Canada, SickKids provides the highest level of complex care to paediatric patients from the Greater Toronto Area and across Canada and works in collaboration with health-care organizations in more than 75 other countries for the betterment of child health.

“SickKids is driven by a mission to improve the health of children by providing the best in family-centred care, achieving groundbreaking scientific and clinical advancements and training the next generation of experts in child health,” says Cathy Séguin, Vice-President, International Affairs for SickKids. “Nelson Mandela’s vision for the children of Southern Africa aligns so closely with our vision of healthier children and a better world and so we are pleased to be able to partner with such an accomplished organization and work toward this monumental goal.”

The Government of Canada is supporting this partnership through a contribution of ZAR 25 million (C$2.5 million) which is helping provide better, child-centered paediatric care services.

“It is always gratifying to see a vision become a reality. This hospital was Nelson Mandela’s dream, and through determination and hard work, we have this amazing facility that will assist so many children in need of life-saving medical care. It is a tremendous honour for Canada to be part of Madiba’s dream.” says High Commissioner Sandra McCardell, “Canada is proud to be supporting the training of paediatric healthcare professionals, and the development of clinical research and teaching platforms through this partnership between two world-class hospitals.”

Canada commends the work of SickKids and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital to improve paediatric care services for marginalized children in South Africa and the region.

About The Hospital for Sick Children
The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s foremost paediatric health-care institutions and is Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education. Founded in 1875 and affiliated with the University of Toronto, SickKids is one of Canada’s most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally. Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system. SickKids is proud of its vision for Healthier Children. A Better World. For more information, please visit

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