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Project information

The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital

The creation of a state of the art specialist paediatric hospital providing child centred best quality medical services to children of South Africa irrespective of their social and economic status. Through its training and research the hospital will build skills amongst new doctors.

April 2011 - December 2016

Charity information: The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (UK)

The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (UK) logo
  • Need


    Children comprise 43% of the South African population (20.8 million). There are 20 deaths per 1000 children born each year. In the USA, UK and Germany the rate is 8 per 1000 or less. HIV and Aids means high levels of hospital admissions of children and remains the leading cause of deaths of children under 5 years. South Africa is far behind on health in the Millennium Development Goals. NMCF has identified an urgent need for a hospital to tackle some of these issues.


    There are only 4 dedicated children's hospitals on the African continent, serving nearly 450 million children. This compares dismally with 23 children's hospitals in the UK and Canada, 19 in Australia and 20 in Germany. NMCH will help South Africa to a reduction in under 5 mortality rate. The hospital will play a significant role in extending sound practices in child healthcare throughout the health system. It will train doctors and nurses, bringing expertise in paediatirc medicine.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To provide much needed paediatric care to 20.8 million children in South Africa.


    » The NMCH will be located in Gauteng, the most densely populated province in South Africa.

    What success will look like

    NMCH will be a turning point on how Africa views the care of children with a specialist facility also changing the view of South Africa's healthcare services.

    Aim 2

    To treat any child who is referred to the hospital regardless of social standing or ability to pay.


    » It will be a public/private collaboration to build the hospital, using private gifts, donor funding and government funding.

    What success will look like

    The success will be the lives of more than 200 children directly impacted upon every day by hospital - children who at present would not be able to be treated.

    Aim 3

    To increase the population of qualified paediatric healthcare professionals in Southern Africa.


    » NMCH will be an academic medical centre affiliated to international medical schools training specialists and bringing back some back to the region.

    What success will look like

    Success will be employing approx 759 staff including specialist doctors and nurses and offering training across the nursing spectrum including healthcare workers.

    Aim 4

    To establish a facility which has principles of family centred care and is a child focused place.


    » Specialised paediatric equipment, operating theatres and facilities, and a safe environment with specialised professionals.

    What success will look like

    Success will be a 200 bed hospital designed in all aspects for paediatric use in terms of height, size. A majority of single bed wards to ensure privacy and specialised care.

  • Impact


    The NMCH will help South Africa to a reduction in the under 5 mortality rate by 2016 by creating capacity so that more children can be treated in the region and waiting lists are shorter. The NMCH will play a significant role in providing high level technical support to extend sound practices of maternal neonatal and child healthcare throughout the health system. Training will be given to 65 nurses annually to address the issue of depletion through emigration.


    Who will fund the running of the hospital? - Capital funding will come entirely from donors, land is at a nominal rent and operational costs from Department of Health.
    Demand too high or low? we have links to hospitals and clinics to ensure planned, necessary referrals.
    Human resources capacity? we are working with stakeholders to plan training to ensure adequate nursing supply when the hospital is operational.


    Donors will receive regular reports on the initial construction, and then hospital delivery of services. An annual report brochure will provide information about the hospital and NMCF has its own website with links. Formal presentations can be made on request.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £386,544

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £246,814 Neonatal High Dependency Unit Building works
      £38,342 Neonatal High Dependency Unit Specialist pediatric equipment
      £101,388 Neonatal High Dependency Unit Beds

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    South African corporates £300,000 Guaranteed
    Private donations £15,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The hospital will be located in Johannesburg Gauteng, South Africa's most populated province. It is an economic and transportation hub for the entire SADC region and therefore the most central location for it to meet the aim of best serving the region. The site is on Wits Education campus adjacent to Wits Medical School.


    Any child that qualifies under the clinical referral guidelines (for example this may be for oncology services or cardiac surgery), regardless of social standing or ability to pay. The hospital will serve as a regional Southern African facility, accepting referrals from neighbouring countries. It is also intended that the use of internet based technology will permit consultations and training to be undertaken remotely across the continent to support the sickest children in the region.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Hospital is being driven by the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, which has evolved since its establishment in 1995 into an internationally recognised children's charity focusing on the health development and rights of children. On average, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund supports up to 100,000 children and young people every year, through community based programmes of in Southern Africa. Long term initiatives ensure a more stable future for children.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Graca Machel

    Patron and Leader in fundraising initiative. Internationally known for campaigning role in education and child development. Wife of Nelson Mandela

    Sibongile Mkhabela

    CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Director UN Development Programme. Huge experience of development issues nationally and internationally.

Artist impression

Artist impression

Every day, there are children dying, and some of them die because we don’t have enough facilities to take care of them.

Prof. Sithembiso Velaphi Head of Neonatal Unit, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital