Filed picture: Paediatric medicine is very different to adult medicine
THE CHILDREN'S Hospital Trust has spent 22 years fund-raising to upgrade Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital section by section.

The funds raised have not only been spent on building reconstruction and hi-tech life-saving equipment, but has been used on specialist training for medical staff, said the trust's chief executive Louise Driver. “We make sure the medical staff receive top-level training. Doctors and nurses are trained in specialised paediatrics, such as renal or oncology paediatrics.”

Driver said there was also a “dire lack of paediatric nurses in this country” because paediatric medicine is very different to adult medicine and as a result the trust was funding a number of projects at the hospital. She said some of the patients spend months or even years in hospital, especially at the “one of a kind” burns unit where the patients are not only healed physically, but through an “incredible rehabilitation programme,” which involves music, physical, occupational and cultural therapy.

To this end, the trust started Children's Hospital Radio this year, and “it is the first radio station in a hospital in the world which is run by the children, for the children”. “Lots of the children are in hospital for months and months, so they get involved in hospital radio, compiling programmes and interviewing others.

“It entertains the children, not only in terms of listening, but being involved with the healing journey.

“They talk about what they have been through. That is what the hospital radio does. Its an amazing facility for us to have a Red Cross.” In the process of completing the upgrade of the paediatric Intensive Care Unit, which still requires R3million, the trust team have already begun planning the expansion and upgrade of the “very old” and extremely busy trauma centre.

“What happens is we don't just fund the project, we manage the whole building project, we hire the architects, the quantity surveyors, all the sub-contractors, so we can monitor and account for all the funds the donors gave us. Only when the whole building project is completed, do we hand it over to the hospital.”