Child institute turns 84 years

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

The Memorial Institute for Child Health and Development yesterday celebrated its 84th birthday in Johannesburg.

Formerly called the Transvaal Memorial Hospital for Children, it was built in the 1920s by money raised by the National Council of Women in memory for those who died during World War I.

The council donated the hospital to the Transvaal Province in 1923. It served as a children's hospital until the 1970s when its childcare services were taken over by Johannesburg Hospital.

The institute now houses several nongovernmental organisations such as Autism South Africa, the Gauteng Alliance for Street Children, Teddy Bear Clinic and the The South African Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

Lorna Jacklin, a paediatrician in the institute, said there was a need to provide specialised care for children, especially those with physical and developmental disabilities.

"The work that is done is even more valuable today.

"The vision of the institute is still alive despite the challenges," Jacklin said.