Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital Opens Upgraded Burns Unit | Western Cape Government

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Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital Opens Upgraded Burns Unit

14 September 2011

Paediatric burns treatment has been given a boost thanks to a R13 million ward upgrade at Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital. The ward is the only specialised paediatric burns unit in Africa. The modernised unit was officially opened on 15 September.

Speaking at the event, Western Cape Minister of Health, Theuns Botha, said: "Western Cape Government is proud to have this hospital in our portfolio of properties. The upgrades completed in the unit are certainly an investment in improved treatment of our patients and a better working environment for our staff."

"I acknowledge all the partners who came on board with financial contributions and, in particular, moral support. This facility plays a significant role on this continent in the healing of children with burns wounds, and I thank you for your commitment to this cause, of which the benefits will be visible in the future generation."

Every year the hospital treats approximately 3 500 children for burns. Eighty-five percent of burns patients are younger than six and 98% are from disadvantaged communities.

"A burn is one of the most devastating injuries," Professor Heinz Rode, the head of the burns unit said. "It leaves in its wake disfigurement and disability. The new burns unit for children will consist of state-of-the-art facilities that will enhance the outcome of these unfortunate children. This was made possible through a concerted effort by the Provincial Administration, the Children's Hospital Trust of the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, the architects, the builders and many individuals. It is a tribute to their initiative and tenacity to see the project through to its completion. The end result is a wonderful new unit and in conjunction with the new burns theatre and ICU facilities are state of the art facilities. In future burned children will harvest the benefits towards recovery."

The new ward will be much larger which will create a more spacious and pleasant working environment.

"The new unit will be about 150 square metres larger than the original ward, which has only had minor upgrades since it was first opened in 1956. This upgrade of the ward into a fully fledged burns unit will go a long way to increase Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital's capacity for care," hospital CEO, Dr Lungi Linda, said.

"The additional space means that there will be more isolation cubicles, which is essential for burns treatment. The art therapy, physiotherapy and dressing rooms will also be much bigger and more comfortable."

Operational manager for the ward, Professional Nurse Revona Goosen, said: "The nursing staff are looking forward to a better, safer, more therapeutic working environment, which has adequate space so that we can deliver efficient and effective nursing care."

The upgrade was made possible thanks to the 17-year-old partnership between the Western Cape Department of Health and the Children's Hospital Trust. Half of the funds for the upgrade of the ward were provided for by the Western Cape Department of Health and the Children's Hospital Trust raised the remaining 50%.

"Thank you so much to all our donors for their generous contributions which are vital in ensuring that priority projects such as the new burns unit become a reality. This recent upgrade would not have been possible without our partnership with the Provincial Government, long-standing trust and foundation donors, corporates, individual donors from our Guardians and Legacy programmes, as well as the support of the public. However, the need within the hospital and in the Western Cape is far greater than our success and the trust requires ongoing support if we are to continue to help improve paediatric healthcare on the continent," says Louise Driver, CEO of the Children's Hospital Trust.

The Burns Ward (Ward C2) is the fifth ward upgrade that has been made possible thanks to this dynamic public-private partnership. Fundraising for the sixth and seventh ward upgrades are already underway.

Burns treatment is complex. A burn wound inflicts both physical and mental anguish on a child. The provincial Department of Health's multi-disciplinary approach to healing incorporates both the physical and mental treatment of a patient as well as rehabilitation.

The modernised facilities in the new upgraded burns unit are on par with the ICU level of critical care and international standards. It has immediate operating theatre and intensive care treatment access and offers a full range of support services and specialities, such as plastic surgery, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, pain management, music and art therapy, aromatherapy and social services.

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