The Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust is registered in the Republic of South Africa as a Trust and a Public Benefit Organisation (PBO) with the sole objective of supporting mother and child patients at Tygerberg Hospital.
The Tygerberg Hospital Children’s Trust supports the hospital on 4 broad fronts:
Neonatology is the treatment and care of newborn babies. At Tygerberg Hospital’s neonatal and neonatal ICU wards, this means caring for mothers, newborns and especially prematurely born babies. Tygerberg Hospital treats the most babies under 1500g in the whole of South Africa, making it the premier state centre for premature birth healthcare and studies, with an impact not only in South Africa, but also as a learning institute for the continent and beyond. The unit was also one of the first to employ Kangaroo Mother Care protocols to improve the success rate of preemie babies and also the first hospital in Africa to administer life-saving drugs into the lungs of preterm babies. The unit has been providing high frequency breathing assistance to critically ill babies in 1993 and in 2008 began offering a regular service of cooling down babies (and especially their brains) after birth-related complications.
Many children in our province require specialised care because of infectious diseases, childhood cancer, disabilities and psychiatric problems often exacerbated by social factors such as nutrition, education, and the social ills rampant in our indigent communities. Tygerberg Hospital treats some of the highest volumes of childhood tuberculosis (TB) and HIV in the world and is thus a recognized world leader in the diagnosis and treatment of paediatric TB and HIV. A specialised children’s HIV clinic was established in 1997 in an attempt to give comprehensive care to families affected by HIV. The paediatric infectious diseases unit has a core of highly trained consultants offering a wide range of specialised care to our children. Our paediatric Haematology Oncology unit is accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a training unit and has been open since 1983, while our Paediatric Pulmonology service is internationally recognised and in 2020 became the first unit in Africa to receive the Olympus Ultrasound Bronchoscope system, vastly improving our ability to diagnose and treat child-patients. The unit has a strong outreach program and is involved in building up capacity in many African countries.
Drawing more than half of the Western Cape’s children, Tygerberg Hospital’s paediatric unit plays an important role in the healthcare and Early Childhood Development (ECD) of millions of children within its drainage area. As a public health facility, Tygerberg Hospital primarily serves the indigent community within its geographical drainage area, which includes the Northern Metro sub-districts, Khayelitsha, Eastern Tygerberg, West Coast, Cape Winelands and the Overberg rural districts. It is a little-known fact that Tygerberg Paediatrics Department, with 210 paediatric and 90 neonatal beds, are responsible for the care of approximately half of the 2,4 million children living in the Western Cape who require specialist medical care. These disadvantaged children, often from far-flung communities, are unlikely to have access to the essential ingredients of nutrition, protection and stimulation, for a normal healthy childhood development. The Tygerberg Hospital School, situated inside the hospital plays a big role in ECD by providing education and stimulation for child-patients both in the classroom as well as in the wards, during their transition back to health. The school has specialised classes for children with disabilities and special needs such as adolescents undergoing psychiatric care at the hospital.
Tygerberg Hospital is not a Children’s Hospital, but instead is the largest paediatric unit in our province, the Western Cape. This affords us the opportunity to focus on holistic healthcare around the child-patient. We especially focus on family-centred care and mothers in particular. When looking at the spectrum of health and wellbeing of our children, we are drawn to also focus on our communities. This means a healthy child at home, is a child that does not place a burden on hospital resources. This means nutrition, security, physical and mental health is included in the work that we do, at the source, in our communities. Outreach initiatives and programmes such as our annual HIV children’s outings and camps, sporting programmes and the inclusion of arts and culture in our youth engagement are important elements of the work that we do. Our aim, through our programmes, is to give our children a chance to dream freely and offer them hope and support in realising a healthy potential.