Ntlahla Yose, 7 months, at St Joseph’s Hospital for Chronically Ill Children, a convalescent medical facility for children who suffer from chronic illnesses. Picture: David Ritchie


Cape Town – A R46 million donation awarded to one of the only children’s hospitals in the Western Cape catering to vulnerable youngsters has been put to good use by the management of St Joseph’s Hospital for Chronically Ill Children in Montana.

After receiving the donation from a private sponsor three years ago, the hospital embarked on extensive renovations to transform the 81-year-old facility into a “world-class, child-friendly” space.

St Joseph’s is the only facility in Cape Town that caters for dedicated community-based paediatric inpatient rehabilitation services.

St Joseph’s, described as a progressive, one-of-a-kind care facility, provides a holistic care programme for children with life-threatening conditions or disabilities, some of whom have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

The Cape Argus was invited to a first look at the revamped facility.

Its director, Tia Patterson, said the new-look hospital, which is to be officially reopened on Wednesday, would have a direct benefit on the health of its patients.

“We used to have long passages, with Florence Nightingale-style wards with 30 beds in them,” Patterson said. “What we’ve tried to do is to create safe, comforting spaces that are warm, so that children feel safe. That is terribly important for their healing.”

“We broke up the passages, designed a therapy centre and we also now have parents’ accommodation and can accommodate 20 parents.”

For the benefit of the children, Patterson said the windows had been lowered so that they could look out.

“There’s also lots of light and ventilation, which is very important for infection control,” Patterson added. She said the relaunch was “a culmination of a three-year building programme”.

“St Joseph’s been in existence for 81 years, so it’s been here for a long time. But through a wonderful donation, we’ve been able to transform the spaces and create a completely modern facility.”

Patterson said the provincial Department of Health subsidised 117 of the hospital’s 140 beds.

“And then that’s where our fundraiser, Alrika Hefer, comes in. She raised funds for the other 23 beds.”

Hefer said: “In today’s world it’s not been easy (to raise funds), but we’ve been fortunate so far. We’ve had good friends for many years and we seem to keep them.”

About the generous Swiss donor responsible for the renovation, Patterson said: “We started with a submission proposal for R2.6m, and ended up with R46m.”

Cape Argus / Iol News



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