DURBAN, Legendary British singer Sir Elton John has donated 50 million rand (about 3,71 million US dollars) to a children’s hospital in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal Province to help it fight HIV/AIDS.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation made the generous donation to the KwaZulu-Natal Children Hospital based in Durban. Originally known as the Addington Children’s Hospital, racial tensions in the 1980s forced its closure, but the process of rebuilding began in 2013.
A recent post on the Facebook page of the Elton John AIDS Foundation reads: “A huge thank you to our loyal and generous supporters who helped us raise over three million pounds for the fight against HIV/AIDS at the Woodside Gallery Dinner on Thursday night. The money raised will go towards supporting people living with HIV around the world, particularly adolescents through a new HIV Adolescent Treatment Centre at the KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital in Durban, South Africa.”
The donation will go a long way towards resurrecting the children’s hospital to include a centre for HIV-positive teenagers.
KwaZulu-Natal Children’s Hospital Trust chief executive Dr Arti Ramkissoon said she had contacted John’s foundation after hearing of his commitment to helping young people with HIV at last year’s International AIDS Conference in Durban.
There was a lot of publicity around his interest in young people living with HIV. I immediately tried to get hold of his foundation and managed to get someone there to talk to me and by some miracle we managed to get Elton to come and visit us. He walked around the project. I think he was quite affected by the challenges that these young people have, she said.
Explained how the funds will be used, she said: The funding is going to be used to build a centre for adolescent health for those from 10 until 18 years of age. They have very specific medical, also psychological needs and challenges which we are going to try and address and respond to in this new centre.
The Durban Children’s Hospital was built in 1928 by then Durban Mayor Mary Siedle who wanted to get medical treatment for a child of colour but could not find a facility to help her. The hospital was shut down by the apartheid regime in the 1980’s.
With renewed dreams of the promise that this site still holds, Ramkissoon is appealing to the local community to come together to help complete the project and said: The main old children’s hospital building which was built in the 1920’s will be used for mental health care for children and teenagers. We’ve got the plans ready, we just need the funding to complete the renovations.
“We’ve got one building up and running and six more to go. I think it’s really important for the whole of KZN to try and help us to get this going, because we have 3.5 million children living in the province which is a quarter of the children in the whole country. So it’s really important that we get this facility up and running. Every cent, every rand is important.
Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK