Children’s hospital of hope

2016-03-29 13:47
An impression of what the Victoria Mother and Child Centre of Excellence will look like.

An impression of what the Victoria Mother and Child Centre of Excellence will look like. (.GRAPHICS: Supplied)

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Pietermaritzburg - Construction of South Africa’s first mother-and-child hospital, to be built in Pietermaritzburg at a cost of half a billion rand, is expected to start later this year.

With funding for the project secured and licences approved, the building of the Victoria Mother and Child Centre of Excellence should start later this year if all goes according to plan.

The hospital, a joint venture between Pietermaritzburg paediatric specialist Dr Doshen Naidoo, his wife Dr Raksha Takoordeen and Riel Associates, is set to be built on the Victoria Country Club Estate.

“The mother-and-child centre will be the first of its kind and there will be nothing of the same magnitude in the country,” said Naidoo.

He said planning for the hospital began three years ago, brought on by the high morbidity and mortality rate of mothers and babies in the country.

Naidoo said the hospital will deal with referrals, taking the most critical babies and mothers, aiding hospitals such as Grey’s Hospital, the tertiary hospital for western KwaZulu-Natal.

“The hospital would incorporate both the public and private sector. We are establishing a trust fund that would pay hospital fees for the public section,” said Naidoo.

He said the Victoria Country Club Estate was the ideal place for the hospital as it was still in Pietermaritzburg but was a distance away from the bustle of the city, with the estate bordering a conservancy.

“We have attracted interest from Geneva, the UK and Canada and we will be sharing knowledge and skills between us.

“We will also be building a boutique hotel near the hospital so families from out of town can stay near their children once they have been admitted.”

Naidoo said that the hospital would house 147 beds and would create 325 permanent jobs and 200 semi-permanent jobs for locals.

“It is a unique concept in a family-friendly precinct and with it being the first of its kind, can add greatly to the investment appeal of the city.”

With 147 beds, the hospital will offer surgery for babies, oncology for both mothers and babies, paediatric obstetrics, paediatric rehabilitation following burns or car accidents and a fertility clinic.

With a completely child-friendly design, all facilities in the hospital will be designed to make children feel comfortable and will include an indoor and outdoor play area.

“I am nervous, but very excited,” said Naidoo. “This is the start of a two-year journey to do something that has never been done before and create a legacy for children.

“There is a relevance and a need for more hospitals like this and it is the result of a passion for caring for children.”

Naidoo said funding has been secured, the licence approved and plans submitted to the Department of Health, with revisions already made.

“The next step is rezoning. The only possible obstacle now would be if the home owners of Victoria Country Club Estate object. However, if the majority are in favour the project will start this year, upon rezoning of the property.”

Naidoo said there had been one or two protests and resistance to change but the proposed change is for the good of humanity.

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business director Melanie Veness said the new venture would be “fantastic” and “phenomenal” for the city.

She said that there had been a lot of development in the private medical sector and building a hospital specifically designed to treat mothers and children was “absolutely amazing”.

“Medical specialists draw people from all over the country, especially when it comes to their children,” she said.

“The hospital is completely in line with the character of the city and I have nothing negative to say about its development,” said Veness.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  hospital  |  children

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