First Patient moved into New ICU
Three-week-old Sha-annoor Abul, from Darling, was the very first patient welcomed to the new Medical Wing of the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital after ICU staff started moving the patients from the old ICU into the new wing on 17 August 2016.
Construction on the state-of-the-art facility began in October 2015 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2017, but phase one of the building project, the medical wing, was completed in July 2016.
Currently the 22-bed PICU at the hospital is the largest ICU for children in Africa. It provides emergency care for critically ill or injured children from within the Western Cape, the rest of South Africa and the African continent. The demand is driven by the increases in surgery requirements and escalations in detection of serious illnesses. In essence, the demands on this unit are higher than its capacity to deliver.
Staff members moved swiftly to smoothly transfer the first 15 patients from the old location into the new wing.
The R100 million-plus expansion and upgrade of the PICU at the hospital was made possible by collaboration between the Children’s Hospital Trust and Western Cape Government Health. The Western Cape Government will contribute R30 million towards the ICU as well as a further contribution towards equipment.
“The best health systems are those that provide the best care for the most vulnerable members of our communities. The youngest members of our communities are amongst the most vulnerable. We are delighted to continue working together with the Children’s Hospital Trust and the people of Cape Town to provide world-class health care to our children,” said the Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.
Moving from the old location into the new wing, Prof. Mignon McCulloch, Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) Consultant at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, said: “This building has allowed some pretty incredible things. It is emotional to say goodbye, but invigorating to say hello to the incredible new facility made possible by the generosity of the South African public and international supporters. This is an exciting move as this new facility ensures that our patients have access to world-class facilities.”
Louise Driver, CEO of the Children’s Hospital Trust added: “Thanks to the incredible generosity by donors from around the world, funds have been raised to complete the building of this life-saving unit. The Children’s Hospital Trust is now committed to raising the final funds to equip the ICU with world-class equipment, ensuring that the paediatric ICU can give back childhood to even more children from across the continent. We’d like to thank everyone who has helped this dream become a possibility.”
• The 22-bed facility will increase to 39 bed spaces, and will include an urgently needed 10-bed High Care Neonatal Unit as well as eight isolation cubicles. The high care unit and the isolation cubicles will ensure optimal treatment through better infection control, which is critical in ICU.
• The expansion and upgrade will also create more comfortable and supportive spaces for parents as well as breastfeeding mothers. Currently, family members have no privacy or space between life-saving equipment as they sit vigil at their child’s bedside. Increased space will also mean that staff, who work very long hours saving lives in tough conditions, will have adequate support facilities.