Wednesday December 7, 2016

Children’s cancer unit funded by £2m IRUK donation

The Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital has opened in Johannesburg, thanks in part to a massive £2m donation for a specialist cancer care unit by the international aid charity Islamic Relief UK.

The children’s hospital was officially opened on Friday 2 December on the eve of the third anniversary of the death of the revered South African leader.

There are only four specialist children’s hospitals for some 450m children in the entire continent of Africa, compared to about 20 such hospitals in the UK. The state-of-the-art Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital (NMCH) will help change these grim statistics.

The Parktown, Johannesburg facility is setting the standard for modern child-centred healthcare facilities in South Africa, with facilities including a bone marrow transplant unit and laboratory, intensive care and high-care beds, a dedicated pharmacy, and a radiology unit.

Islamic Relief UK has donated £2m (about $2.51m) of the $7.7m (110m ZAR) that Islamic Relief Worldwide has committed to solely support the oncology unit of the new children’s hospital.

Tufail Hussain, Deputy Director of Islamic Relief UK, said:

“Islamic Relief is proud to have funded the oncology unit, which will provide quality diagnosis and treatment for children with cancer in a continent with only three specialist facilities currently.

“We are privileged to be associated with such a state-of-the-art facility whose services are so badly needed, and to be part of such a fitting tribute to Nelson Mandela. As the anniversary of his death approaches on 5 December, how better to celebrate his life and what he stood for than to open the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital. The hospital will be a beacon of hope for the children of South Africa for decades to come.

“Islamic Relief’s donation to this important project would not have been possible without the bighearted generosity of our donors around the world. The children’s hospital’s ethos reflects the ethos of Islamic Relief itself – we help vulnerable people where the need is greatest, regardless of race, religion or gender.”

As well as the oncology unit funded by Islamic Relief, the new 200-bed children’s hospital has centres of excellence in cardiology and cardiothoracic surgery, haematology, nephrology, pulmonology, craniofacial surgery, neurosciences, and general paediatric surgery.

According to recent figures from the Childhood Cancer Foundation (CHOC), one in 600 children in South Africa is affected by cancer before the age of 16. Yet more than 40 per cent of South African children with cancer never receive specialist treatment.

The first young patients are expected through the hospital’s doors for dialysis and radiology treatments early in the New Year.

Images of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital wards, facilities and resources can be downloaded from here.

A video of Tufail Hussain, Deputy Director of Islamic Relief UK, giving a guided tour of the oncology unit of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/IslamicReliefUK/videos/1208497419186195

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