Plans for the construction of the first mother and child academic hospital in the Free State province have officially been approved. The hospital will form part of Universitas Academic Hospital in Bloemfontein and will exclusively cater for mothers and children’s medical needs. Speaking at the launch of the Free State Mother and Child Academic Hospital, held at the University of the Free State last night, Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Prof. André Venter, announced that the hospital will be privately owned. The hospital will start off with a bed capacity of 350. Prof. Venter said at this moment the Department of Paediatrics is faced with infrastructural challenges and the limitation of space. He said besides providing paediatric medical care to over 250 000 children in the Free State region and to children from other provinces such as the Northern Cape, North West and Lesotho, the hospital will also enable medical students to develop their expertise. Venter announced that the hospital’s name will remain Free State Mother and Child Academic Hospital.
Venter said in addition to this specialised hospital, the university is also seeking to establish a Mother and Child Academic Trust. “We aim for the board of this project to be independent of the University and the Provincial Department of Health, although they are key stakeholders.” This project will serve the fundamental medical needs of Bloemfontein residents.
Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-chancellor and Rector of the UFS, described the project as one which captures the head and the heart, as it caters most for little lives, a hub wherein great talent and potential waits to be unleashed. In support of the project, the university has offered a piece of land on the campus where the hospital will be built, thus strengthening the quality of tertiary education.
Former Miss World, Mrs Rolene Strauss, also pledged her support. She said she is honoured to be the patron of the project, one she believes will lead to healthier women, healthier children, and a healthier nation.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Fuchs Foundation, CEO Dr Riaan Els, awarded a donation of R2250000 towards the building of the hospital, a contribution which will bring the project a step closer to its realisation.
Prof André Venter, leader of the project, hopes that it will serve as a blueprint for other academic hospitals in the country, and mark the beginning of an era of highly specialised medical care for humanity’s most precious people. – Katleho Morapela