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Hope for burn victims


Burn victims now have new hope after the burn unit at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital underwent a makeover.

NEW HOPE has been instilled in burn victims at the Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe (RMS) Hospital after the unit underwent a makeover.

The state-of-the-art paediatric section in the unit is the only one of its kind in the Northern Cape

The development is being rolled out in three phases with the first phase revealed yesterday.

The renovations have been made possible through a partnership by the Smile Foundation, Avela Foundation, Signature of Hope Trust, Kimberley Airport and the Northern Cape Department of Health.

The Executive Chairman of the Smile Foundation, Marc Lubner, explained yesterday that the focus of these renovations were always to improve the lives of the less fortunate.

“The future of our country depends on collaboration between government and private individuals. The opening of the first phase of this burns unit is exactly what South Africa needs and wants. All it takes is for those of us who have the courage to link arms and make the magic happen.

“Government provides the land and buildings and skills, while private individuals form and run non-profits like the Smile Foundation and Avela Foundation that motivate corporations to spend money to build or renovate existing burn units. We do it together and children and their families, faced with what seems like a life of ostracism, are given a different life,” said Lubner.

Doctor Maria Giaquinto-Cilliers, from RMS hospital, said yesterday that a beautified environment added to the healing of the patient.

“Often when someone sustains a burn injury, they feel ugly, while some find it difficult to accept. If you are in a hospital where the unit you are in is not maintained, it adds to your lack of self-esteem. However, when a place is beautiful, the patient works with the doctors to get better. The exterior of a place is just as important as the interior healing of a patient,” she said.

Giaquinto-Cilliers said a beautified environment was also just as important to staff.

“Many doctors and medical personnel also need a pleasant looking place in which to work. I think that a depressing environment is also why many medical staff leave their work as they feel that they are not being appreciated in their work environment,” said Giaquinto-Cilliers.

The patients in the unit yesterday were very pleased with the revamp.

The mother of a 16-month-old boy, who burnt when hot water fell on him, said the environment provided a distraction to her and her son.

Kenemang Mogatle from Kuruman said her son, Leano, sustained burns when he pulled his bottle over while she was busy preparing milk for him.

“I was busy making a bottle for my son. I had filled the bottle with boiling water. As I went to get the formula, Leano pulled the bottle, with boiling water inside, off the table. The water fell on his face, arms and chest. I took him to the hospital in Kuruman. The incident happened at the end of November and we were transferred to Kimberley,” she said.

Another patient from Platfontein, Maria Alfredo, who sustained burns after a family member allegedly set their house alight, said the unit was more pleasant than the depressing state she found herself in.

“My family member set our house, where I live with my parents and three children, alight. My parents were visiting friends at the time of the incident and I was asleep at home.”

The family member allegedly poured petrol inside the house and set it alight before leaving. “He closed the door and left us inside. I woke up to this intense heat. The entire house was filled with smoke and I grabbed my three children.

“My legs, arms, face and upper body were burnt as we tried to escape the blaze. My children were luckily unharmed,” she said.

Alfredo said the surroundings in the unit had added to her healing.

“The state I am in is very depressing and I worry about the situation back at home once I have been discharged.

“However, the colours are uplifting and bright. The place gives us hope again,” she said.

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