24 July 2013

Financial services groups Barclays and Absa and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust today announced the launch of a global fundraising awareness campaign to raise funds towards the construction of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

The hospital is a unique project in that capital funding is being raised entirely from donors, while operational expenditure will be provided by the South African government, through the National Department of Health.

Members of the public that would like to contribute towards the hospital’s building costs can do so at Absa and Barclays branches in South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and the United Kingdom. Absa and Barclays have also waived all administration fees so that the Trust is paid the full donated amount.

Once completed, the hospital will help to address a very real need in Southern Africa as the region suffers from a shortage of dedicated paediatric facilities, with only four such facilities on the continent - two in Cairo, one in Nairobi and one in Cape Town. Admissions to the hospital will be open to all children from the SADC region.

Viable solutions

The Hospital will be located in Johannesburg, South Africa. Johannesburg is an economic and transportation hub in the SADC region, and is centrally located to meet its mandate of serving the region’s population. The project is entering the final development phase, with commissioning and opening of the Hospital expected for October 2015.

“It is a shared imperative of Absa and Barclays to create viable solutions to help address social challenges. Acting as a conduit to raise funds for a cause as noble as Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, is central to our commitment to making Citizenship real for all of our stakeholders,” says Bobbie Malabie, Absa Group and Barclays Africa Executive responsible for Marketing, Communications, Citizenship and Public Affairs.

Malabie adds: “For us, Citizenship means understanding the needs of our stakeholders and making decisions – in the short – and long-term that will positively impact our clients and customers, as well as the communities in which we operate. This is a fundamental part of becoming the ‘Go-To’ bank in Africa.”

Progress on the establishment of the Hospital is on track, with building planned to commence in the third quarter of this year. Completion date is set for 2015.

Living memorial

“A highly skilled technical task team is working hard to meet these deadlines,” says Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.

While the world’s economic climate has hampered fundraising efforts, the hospital trust has already raised approximately R250 million of the R1 billion target required to build and equip the hospital, as well as train medical professionals to work in it.

The hospital will be a living memorial to Nelson Mandela. It will also be a centre of excellence and a specialist referral hospital catering for children who need long-term care.

“Millions of these children suffer from life-threatening illnesses and have little or no chance of receiving the specialised care they need. The hospital will be unique in one more way - no child will be turned away due to an inability to pay,” says Mkhabela.

Huge gap

“The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust is extremely proud to be a vehicle for raising and mobilising funds to plan and build the hospital. At the appropriate time we will appoint an operating company, called the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, to oversee the running of the hospital,” says Mkhabela.

One in five South African children has long-term serious health conditions. This hospital will fill a huge gap in the country’s health-care programme. It will not compete with, but will complement, other hospitals and their work in paediatric work.