Larger hospital ICU will save more kids

2015-10-27 06:00
Prof Andrew Argent, head of the paediatric intensive care unit at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, and provincial health minister Nomafrench Mbombo break down the wall of the current Picu so that construction on the new Picu can start.

Prof Andrew Argent, head of the paediatric intensive care unit at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, and provincial health minister Nomafrench Mbombo break down the wall of the current Picu so that construction on the new Picu can start.

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An upgrade of the paediatric intensive care unit (Picu) is underway at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Rondebosch.

The expanded Picu will provide life-saving treatment to thousands of the hospital’s young patients.

With a dire shortage of Picu beds in South Africa, the upgrade – at a cost of more than R100m – will significantly improve intensive care services given to critically ill and injured children.

Construction has officially begun and is expected to be completed by October 2017. The new Picu will be able to accommodate more patients than before and will have isolation units to avert cross-infection and a specifically designed area for neonatal care.

The expansion and upgrade will also create a comfortable and supportive space for parents and breastfeeding mothers. Currently, family members have no privacy or space between life-saving equipment as they hold vigil at their child’s side. Increased space will also mean that staff who work very long hours saving lives in tough conditions, will have adequate accommodation. These staff members work tirelessly to provide clinical, educational and research services.

The current Picu at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital is already the largest intensive care unit for children in Africa. There is a dire need to boost its capacity due to the growing demand for Picu beds.

The Children’s Hospital Trust is fundraising for the project cost. Government will contribute R30m.

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