DURBAN 27-11-2011 Kids Hospital. Picture: S'bonelo Ngcobo

Reconstruction of the dilapidated historic KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital is to start in January with an initial tranche of R50 million injected into the project by the provincial department of health.

This was announced by KZN Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo at the official opening of the R152 million KwaMashu Community Health Centre on Friday.

He said reconstruction at the children’s hospital would take up to three years.

As the structure is a national heritage building established in 1931, it will not be demolished but restored to it original form.

Dhlomo said the department had secured finance for reconstruction to begin next year.

More finance will be injected by NGOs and the private sector which have joined the department on this revitalisation project.

“This will be the top children’s hospital in the country. Reconstruction will help us focus on the top of the range, specialised treatment for our children that cannot be found in most normal hospitals.

“This province does not have a dedicated children’s hospital,” Dhlomo said.

He said it would “house all expertise in one building”.

Last year he officially launched the building’s R118 million rejuvenation project which will transform the old Addington Children’s Hospital into the new KZN Children’s Hospital.

The department also set up a task team to lead restoration and renovation of the abandoned hospital building into an integrated children’s wellness centre, working together with the Friends of the Children’s Hospital and local NGOs and businesses.

The task team consists of multiple donor groups and diverse professionals.

The hospital is planned to include ambulatory services such as rehabilitation programmes, palliative care with a facility-based clinic, a 24-bed psychiatric facility and outpatient clinic, and a hospice facility available to NGOs for development of an in-patient facility for the care of children with terminal illnesses.

It will provide training resources with a lecture theatre, seminar rooms and skills laboratories and offices for lease to NGOs.

Programmes

Also on the cards is an office for research programmes focusing on child health issues; a residential facility to provide lodging for caregivers attending short-term on-site rehabilitation programme; a playground; and a heated swim- ming pool for therapy.

Medical professionals will include physiotherapists, audiotherapists, occupational therapists, paediatricians and psychologists.

The upgrade plan, revealed last year, showed that will take about two-and-a-half to three years to complete reconstruction in three phases.

The first will be done over 12 months and will include work on the children’s hospital. The second is set for nine months, and will deal with the adjacent former nurses’ home.

The third and last phase will be fixing associated buildings on the site over nine months.

At the launch, Dr Sibongile Zungu, head of the health department, said R2.2 billion had been invested in infrastructure in the province.

She announced other projects which the department was busy with that it hopes to have completed before the implementation of the national health insurance scheme.

The King Edward VIII Hospital is upgrading the nurses home; construction is taking place at the children’s ward; and the ARV clinic is being upgraded.

King George V Hospital will have a new TB complex and surgical wards.

Construction is in progress at the Ngwelezana Hospital in Empangeni, which will have a new therapy ward and a 72-bed ward. The trauma and casualty ward at the hospital is complete.

Lower Umfolozi Hospital is under construction.Construction of nurses residences is under way at St Apollinaris Hospital in Creighton and construction at Ladysmith’s Sgweje Community Health Centre has been completed.

Construction at St Chad’s Community Health Centre in Ladysmith and Umzinyathi’s Mumbe Clinic is complete.

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