Hospital History2018-10-04T15:10:04+00:00

HOSPITAL HISTORY

A Place of Hope & Healing

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While the Children’s Hospital Trust was established in 1994, the story of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital starts many decades earlier – as the dream of soldiers returning from the Second World War. What better way to remember the friends they’d lost in the fighting than building a place of healing?

“It is known throughout the world as a centre of excellence for pioneering research and treatment of childhood diseases and as the premier centre of specialist paediatric training in Africa. Though located in Cape Town, it has become a national and international resource.”

Former president and international icon, the late Mr Nelson Mandela

A Place of Healing

The idea of a children’s hospital in Cape Town as a living memorial took hold of South African servicemen who were awaiting demobilisation in Italy. It captured their imagination so strongly that many of the servicemen gave two days of their pay towards the ideal, and these funds were held in a trust by the South African Red Cross Society who began to champion its establishment.

At a Red Cross Society Cape Region’s annual general meeting in May 1945, it was suggested by Mr Vyvyan Watson that a children’s hospital be built as a Red Cross War Memorial – to honour the service of all South Africans who contributed to the Allied victory.

The Hospital officially opened its doors in June 1956.

A World-class Facility

From these relatively humble origins the Hospital has gone on to establish an international reputation for excellence in paediatric healthcare, offering a comprehensive range of specialist services to children from South Africa and across the entire continent.

Serving as one of the University of Cape Town Health Sciences Faculty’s academic teaching hospitals, it is also considered South Africa’s leading centre for postgraduate specialist paediatric medical and surgical training for both doctors and nurses.

Hospital Milestones

A World-class Facility

From these relatively humble origins the Hospital has gone on to establish an international reputation for excellence in paediatric healthcare, offering a comprehensive range of specialist services to children from South Africa and across the entire continent.

Serving as one of the University of Cape Town Health Sciences Faculty’s academic teaching hospitals, it is also considered South Africa’s leading centre for postgraduate specialist paediatric medical and surgical training for both doctors and nurses.

Hospital Milestones

A World-class Facility

From these relatively humble origins the Hospital has gone on to establish an international reputation for excellence in paediatric healthcare, offering a comprehensive range of specialist services to children from South Africa and across the entire continent.

Serving as one of the University of Cape Town Health Sciences Faculty’s academic teaching hospitals, it is also considered South Africa’s leading centre for postgraduate specialist paediatric medical and surgical training for both doctors and nurses.

The Spirit of Generosity Continues

In the 1990s, the Hospital’s survival was threatened by massively curtailed government health budgets. Adamant that children throughout Africa should not lose this important place of healing, a group of doctors and other interested people came together and, thanks to a generous bequest endowment, founded the Children’s Hospital Trust to ensure its survival.

Perhaps this is yet another reason the Hospital is so special – it is thanks, not only to soldiers, but to corporations, community organisations and ordinary South Africans that it continues to save the lives of children.

Since 1994 the Trust has been assisting the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital with its funding needs and 100% of all donations go directly to priority projects, keeping the Hospital at the cutting edge of international standards of excellence in paediatric healthcare.

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