THE once derelict Addington Children's Hospital is to receive an R118million facelift to restore it to its former glory.
It sits on prime land on Durban's beachfront and has for more than 25 years been home to vagrants.
Once lauded as the province's only specialist children's facility, built to the finest specifications, and filled with fine art offering care to children across the racial spectrum, the hospital has become an eyesore.
But the KwaZulu-Natal department of health has stepped in to restore it to its former glory at a cost of R118million.
Speaking at the dilapidated building yesterday Health MEC Sibongiseni Dhlomo said the hospital, which has been renamed the KwaZulu-Natal Children's Hospital, would cater for the entire population of KwaZulu-Natal.
"It will also encompass rehabilitation programmes on an intensive, short-term multi-disciplinary basis, palliative care, in-patient services; hospice facilities, training and research programmes focussed on child health issues, and a residential facility for the board and lodging of children's caregivers.
"It will also continue the theme of private-public collaboration and intersectoral collaboration," Dhlomo said.
The project is being driven by the KwaZulu-Natal department of health with assistance from NGOs, the Architectural Heritage Trust and Friends of the Children's Hospital.
Once opened, children from throughout the province will be admitted on a referral basis only.
Liza Johnson of the department of health said: "This will be a stand-alone entity formed by the hospital task team and will be responsible for the raising and administering of funds per identified project for the hospital.
"Apart from the outpatients services, facilities will be provided for 24 mother/child rooms and a 24-bed children's lodging facility for children undergoing training or rehabilitation care. There will also be a 24-bed adolescent unit for non psychotic patients."
According to Johnson the building "will not be demolished, but will be lovingly restored to its original magnificence".
The revamp is expected to take 30 months.