Gauteng Health partners with GSK and Surgeons For Little Lives to build new Paediatric Surgery Outpatient Clinic at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital

A new collaboration to improve child health was launched today by the Gauteng Department of Health in partnership with global healthcare company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Surgeons for Little Lives, a local non-profit organisation focused on saving the lives of sick children, at Soweto’s Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. The collaboration will build a world-class paediatric surgery outpatient clinic including a parental sleep-over facility, a first for the hospital.

The hospital’s existing paediatric surgery clinic currently draws people from across sub-Saharan Africa for its world-class care, however the facility required essential improvement to serve the catchment area of 10 million people. In line with GSK’s focus on mother and child health, the global healthcare company has committed to helping South African families gain access to better healthcare services through the new paediatric surgery clinic.

The new clinic, designed by global private hospital group Mediclinic, will boast world-class facilities allowing patients to receive the highest level of care, privacy and dignity. The new paediatric surgery clinic will cater for infants and children up to the age of ten (10) years with paediatric surgical conditions, and is committed to accepting all patients through its doors.

The two-level clinic is designed to support 2,000 outpatients and 300 inpatients per month while also providing a sleep-over facility for caregivers. This sleep-over facility will decrease stress and anxiety for both parents and children, allowing families to use the laundry facility to contribute towards the care of their children while also providing additional support for the nurses.  

Gauteng Health MEC, Ms Qedani Mahlangu lauded the partnership as a key milestone: “This is a great partnership which shows what can be achieved when the private sector join hands with us in the public service. As the Gauteng Government we are grateful to both GSK and Surgeons for Little Lives for choosing to partner with us on this historic venture. This facility will not only benefit Gauteng citizens but the entire country as the hospital gets referrals across the nation. We are thrilled that the new paediatric surgery outpatient clinic will expand our ability to improve our duty of care and the number of patients treated in our Department of Paediatric Surgery”.

Dave Thomas, General Manager and Vice President for Southern African, GSK said: “Improving access to healthcare services for poor communities is our priority. We are excited to work with the Gauteng Department of Health and Surgeons for Little Lives to help strengthen the healthcare infrastructure and use our knowledge and expertise to ensure people have access to the healthcare they need. We are committed to improving mother and child health and aim to play a bigger and more important role in increasing access to healthcare in the community. Our investment in Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and the launch of this new parental sleep-over facility is a critical step in supporting the treatment and care of children in South Africa,” he concluded.

In addition to the facilities for patients and their families, the new paediatric surgery clinic is also designed to be a space conducive for training, forming the clinical and academic hub of the management of patients at Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital. The Department of Paediatric Surgery, University of the Witwatersrand is the leading and largest training facility for paediatric surgeons in sub-Saharan Africa.

GSK’s partnership with the hospital is part of a long-term strategy to increase access to healthcare and help people to do more, feel better, and live longer. By increasing capacity in local medicine supply and strengthening healthcare infrastructure, GSK hopes to stimulate research and deliver sustained economic growth across Africa.

Prof. Jerome Loveland, Chairman of the Board, Surgeons for Little Lives said:

“Together with the Department of Health and GSK, we are working on this particular project to overcome infrastructural and capacity challenges within the South Africa healthcare system. This new paediatric surgery clinic is a welcome addition to Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and will play an important role in improving access to quality healthcare for children, as well as improving resources for their caregivers and families. Mothers are the best nurses, and the sleep-over facility will mean that they can stay and support their child’s recovery, whilst using the new laundry facility to let them sleep in their own pajamas and bedding donated by SFLLs to help make them feel as comfortable as possible.”  

Many parents work or live some distance from the hospital, and the new support and facilities will allow parents to sleep over and provide important relief from parental concern, simultaneously decreasing the child’s anxiety while also alleviating the day-to-day work load of nursing staff who currently also provide motherly duties while parents are not at the hospital.