Royalty Visits Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital
On Friday 18 June 2010 at 15h30 Prince William and Prince Harry visited the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The Hospital is the only specialist hospital in southern Africa dedicated entirely to children.
The primary objectives of their visit to the Hospital were to spend time with patients and their caregivers in the Specialist Medical Ward E2 and to announce the Public Launch of the Children's Hospital Trust's fundraising campaign to develop a Surgical Skills Training Centre at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.
The Hospital's Ward E2 is one of only a few specialist renal, neurology and gastroenterology paediatric facilities in Africa performing paediatric renal transplants, and the only centre for paediatric liver transplants in South Africa.
The idea to build the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital goes back to World War II when a group of South African soldiers resolved that, once they had returned home, they would create a place of healing to honour their fallen comrades. The Hospital had relatively humble beginnings when it opened in 1956, but today, more than fifty (50) years on, it is a cornerstone of paediatric health care in Southern Africa. During their visit to the Hospital, the Princes will meet Colin Eglin, a World War two (WW2) war veteran who donated part of his salary to help build the Hospital.
This Surgical Skills Training Centre project is one of the Children's Hospital Trust's key fundraising drives for 2010. The Trust is also fundraising to upgrade the Specialist Burns Unit at the Hospital. Seed funding has been secured from Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and local donors for the Surgical Skills Training Centre and the Trust is now appealing to the public for support.
With the new R125 million Operating Theatre Complex at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital opened in September 2009, three (3) of the eight (8) new theatres are fully digitalised which means that surgeons need to master the use of increasingly sophisticated technology and equipment. The skills that need to be learnt cannot always be acquired safely in a live surgery setting.
The Surgical Skills Training Centre will be equipped to train surgeons in adult and paediatric endoscopic (Minimally Invasive Surgery) surgery as well as general surgery and in specialties other than surgery. There are currently no paediatric endoscopic surgical training centres in sub-Saharan Africa forcing African specialists and surgeons to travel to Europe or the United States (U.S.) to train in paediatric endoscopic surgery.
Endoscopic or Minimally Invasive Surgery is being recognised worldwide as improving patient outcomes, minimising pain and improving the surgical experience for the patient. The Children's Hospital Trust needs to raise approximately R10.6 million (£ 961 545.02) to build this facility. Karl Storz, a German manufacturer of endoscopic equipment has committed to equipping the facility with digital equipment. Building will commence in September 2010.
The Trust is currently funding two other successful training programmes at the Hospital. The Postgraduate Child-Nurse Training Programme was launched in 2008 to address the significant shortage of skilled nursing staff in South Africa. The African Paediatric Fellowship Programme focusing on doctors specifically was created in 2007 to develop capacity in clinical services, research and training in child health in Africa. The continuation of the programme is dependent on donor funding for the next three years. A maximum of twenty four (24) Fellows are to be trained in the next three (3) years.