The KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital (formerly known as the Addington Children’s Hospital) was built in 1928 and was the first hospital for children on the African continent. In 1984, at the peak of the huge combined internal and international struggle against Apartheid, the wards of the Hospital were closed by the Apartheid government as the hospital treated children of all races. The hospital remained closed for an astounding 28 years. Following the hospital closure, the hospital’s seven buildings fell into deep disrepair. Windows were shattered, roofs collapsed, pigeons nested in gutters, and squatters moved in for shelter.
With Durban and the surrounding province of KwaZulu-Natal extremely hard hit by HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, local leaders embarked on a restoration and rebuild process of the old Children’s Hospital (now renamed the KZN Children’s Hospital). The KZN Children’s Hospital, once completely re-established, will be part of the creation of a provincial ‘first’ Health Precinct and proposed inner city regeneration project that will address adult and child health and welfare issues, poverty and urban renewal in Durban’s inner city.
While child mortality rates almost everywhere else in the world have been falling, this part of South Africa has seen the rate rise. The KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital Trust and other relevant stakeholders are therefore tirelessly working together to re-establish the KZN Children’s Hospital as a comprehensive paediatric and child health hub for treatment, prevention and care, including rehabilitation, psychological and social benefit support services, community outreach and training.
The first building (the Hospital’s Old Outpatient’s department has been rebuilt, and opened for services in July 2013. In addition, the roof and external facades of the Old Main Hospital building and the Old Nurses Home were restored in 2014, followed by the demolition of the Old Administration and Printing building in 2015. In 2017, the hospital basement was completed, which is able to house 120 cars and plant rooms. Though significant progress has been made towards re-establishment of the hospital, we are about 30% of the way towards completion and roughly $30 million is still needed to complete the project. Funding is still required to complete the new 6-storey Rainbow Tower, the interior of the Old Main Hospital building, the Accommodation block, as well to restore the remaining two buildings on site (Prince’s Wing and the Central Nurses Home).
Our mission is to provide comprehensive, equitable health care and support to the children and youth of KwaZulu-Natal that is based on scientifically sound methods and technology.
We envision a world-class children’s hospital that is cost–effective, trans-disciplinary, environmentally-friendly and sustainable; and that will be open to all children, adolescents and their care-givers. regardless of economic background or social standing.
Our primary goals include:
- Providing treatment, prevention and care to children and adolescents (including palliative care, rehabilitation and psycho-social benefit support services)
- Supporting the development of expertise and skills in paediatric and adolescent treatment, care and support
- Supporting community education, mobilisation and outreach in KwaZulu-Natal
- Supporting research in paediatrics and adolescent health
In order to deliver on these goals, the Hospital restoration project is being managed by a Steering Committee comprising representatives of the KZN Department of Health and The KZN Children’s Hospital Trust.
Addington Children’s Hospital on the Durban beachfront was built in 1928 and was the first hospital for children in Africa. In 1984, at the peak of the struggle against Apartheid, the Hospital was closed by the government of the time as it offered services to children of all races. The hospital remained closed for over 28 years.
The decision to renovate the Children’s Hospital was unanimously approved by the KwaZulu-Natal Cabinet in 2009, followed by the official launching of the project in July 2010. Since this time, members of the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Children’s Hospital Trust, together with the KZN Department of Health have been working together to plan the renovation, refurbishment and re-establishment of the old Children’s Hospital (now renamed the KZN Children’s Hospital).
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