It has been estimated that more than 4000 infants and children under the age of five die in KwaZulu-Natal every year. Michelle Michael, president of The South African Women's Forte (SAWF) believes that this alarming statistic is due to a lack of specialised paediatric facilities in the province.
It is the dream of every SAWF member to support the fundraising efforts for the revival of the KwaZulu-Natal Children's Hospital, which has been dilapidated for many decades.
Faced with dual epidemics of HIV and TB, the challenges surrounding child health care is far more demanding today than it has been at any given time and therefore it is once again our 'charity of choice' this year.
The hospital was built in 1928 and was formerly known as the Addington Children's Hospital, it was the first children's hospital on the African continent. However, with the many internal and external struggles during the apartheid era, the hospital was closed by the government because it provided services to children of all races.
During the 28 years the hospital was closed, the buildings fell into disrepair and were eventually occupied by vagrants. Finally in 2009 the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government gave the green light for renovations to proceed. It is the intention to create and maintain a hospital that is green, children and parent-friendly and open to everybody without cost. R50 million has been provided by the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health with a further R400 million needed for repairs to the roofs, restoration of the interiors and renovations to the main hospital.
This special and important event, themed 'A Night at the Oscars', took place last Saturday at the Southern Sun Elangeni Hotel and was attended by 300 people from whose gracious attendance funds were raised. The money will be used to help develop, furnish and provide a fully functional Day Ward at the KwaZulu Natal's Children's hospital.
Main Speaker at the event was Justice Zakeria "Zac" Mohammed Yacoob who was born on 3 March 1948. He succumbed to blindness at 16 months because of meningitis. Justice Yacoob shared wise reflections with the guests echoing the need for protection of women and children in our country.
The South African Women's Forte (SAWF) is an Empowerment and Non-profit organisation for Women and each year as our social responsibility they adopt a Charity and host an 'Event' to raise funds. This year is no different.
Proceeds from the Fund Raising Dinner will be used to develop, furnish and provide a fully functional Day Ward at the KwaZulu-Natal Children's Hospital. It is the intention to achieve a hospital that is green, children and parent-friendly and open for everybody without cost.