Tygerberg Children’s Hospital looks after approximately 25,000 children in the outpatients’ department and admits approximately 16,000 babies and children to its wards annually. Of these admissions 1000 babies and children are so severely ill or require such complicated surgery that they need admission to either the paediatric or neonatal intensive care unit.

As the population grows and urbanization increases, more paediatric and neonatal intensive care beds are urgently needed. To be able to meet the need of these babies and children we plan to increase the paediatric intensive care unit by 4 beds to 14 beds, and the neonatal intensive care unit by 6 beds to 14 beds. In addition we plan to establish paediatric and neonatal high care units, consisting of 5 beds each. This will enable us to use the scarce intensive care beds more efficiently.

For the Department of Paediatrics to achieve our goals of delivering high standards of care to almost exclusively children from indigent families we will need to raise approximately R5 million for the ICU project. It is conservatively calculated to activate 1 intensive care bed would cost R500,000. Each bed would need a ventilator, cardiac monitor, infusion pumps, specialised incubators and other specialised equipment.

Expanding the intensive care units would be done in partnership with the provincial health authorities who would supply the needed physical space, increased staff and medication. Increasing the capacity of the paediatric and neonatal intensive care units would not only serve the needs of the children of the Western Cape but also children referred from other provinces, such as the Northern and Eastern Cape, requiring specialised care.

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