Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre Offically Opened
Another Health Care 2010 Vision becomes a Reality!
The 3rd of December 2004 marked a day of jubilation and celebration with the official opening of the Department of Health's state-of-the-art provincial rehabilitation hospital by the Minister of Health, Mr Pierre Uys. The opening coincided with nation-wide celebrations of International Day for Persons with Disabilities . Other dignitaries present included the Premier, Mr Ebrahim Rasool, the National and Provincial Ministers of Transport, Ministers Radebe and Skwatcha, the Head of Health, prof Craig Househam, Chief Director Dr Krish Vallabhjee and Mr Vincent Daniels, Chairperson of the Disability Network of the Western Cape.
Dr Krish Vallabhjee, Chief Director Regional hospitals, APH and EMS services, described the opening of the WCRC as both a tangible "commitment to persons with disabilities" and the "start of Health Care 2010 in full flight". Dr Vallabhjee congratulated prof Househam, Head of Health, for his vision and commitment and the Department of Transport & Public Works for the successful implementation of this enormous project. The Head of the Institution, Miss Jenny Hendry, her Management team and staff, as well as the Project Manager, Mrs Etha van der Schyf, were also congratulated on the success of this 2010 venture and in making this dream become a reality.
Prof Househam also praised the staff and management of the hospital for their valuable contributions to the project and the successful relocation of the services, saying they would be the key in ensuring that "the heart within the facility keeps beating."
In his address, Premier Rasool highlighted the fact that this facility was designed and constructed in collaboration with disabled consultants and was therefore tailor-made to accommodate their special needs. The facility and its services is about "creating an enabling environment for the disabled" and facilitating "freedom of movement in their respective communities" he said.
This was further highlighted by the honourable Minister of Health, Mr Pierre Uys. "The WCRC will focus on physical rehabilitation and the promotion of independent living?It is a home for all in the Province and will provide a better quality of life" for persons with acquired disabilities following spinal cord injury, stroke, amputation and other disabling conditions.
The newly named Western Cape Rehabilitation Centre (WCRC) in Lentegeur, Mitchells Plain is the amalgamation of the Conradie Spinal- and General rehabilitation Units, and the Karl Bremer Rehabilitation Unit. Built at a cost of R 100 m, this specialized provincial rehabilitation facility will provide much needed rehabilitation to persons with physical disabilities from the entire Western Cape Region and neighbouring provinces.
The need for such a facility in the Western Cape was supported by guest speakers and ex-patients of the Conradie Spinal Unit.
JP Lugt, a quadriplegic, said the staff at Conradie showed him that "life could go on" after he went for rehabilitation. Igshaan Hendricks, another ex-patient of Conradie thanked the government for "delivering on such an essential facility", and for providing persons with disabilities the right of access to rehabilitation services, so that they could "take their rightful place in the community".
The official opening of the WCRC was followed by the official opening of the newly refurbished Mandalay station (which is in close proximity to the WCRC) by Minister Jeff Radebe. The investment of R17.2m by the Department of Transport has ensured that the station meets with international (universal) accessibility standards for persons with mobility impairments. A new road, well lit with street lights, leads from the Mandalay station to the Rehabilitation Centre, further improving accessibility to the hospital.
The auditorium was filled to capacity with patients and their family members, staff and invited guests. In an atmosphere of jubilation all present loudly applauded Mr Vincent Daniels, who, aptly voiced the thoughts of all present: that the WCRC would provide "the gateway into happiness and joyfulness of life".