Tutu thanks staff at hospital

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu delivered a service at the 10th annual thanksgiving ceremony for the childrens unit of Tygerberg Hospital. Photo: Bheki Radebe

“Thankful for so many beautiful things that happen here.”

Speaking at the 10th annual thanksgiving interfaith service at Tygerberg Hospital, hosted by the facility’s Children’s Hospital Trust, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu said yesterday morning: “I have been thinking in the last few days what it must be like to be God.

“A few days ago 48 children were killed, over 300 girls were abducted, just think of what the Islamic State is doing. And on Sunday a mother was walking with her son, he was attacked and they ripped him to death right in front of the mother.

He said that he thought God might spend a lot of time crying until he looked down at Tygerberg Hospital and all the “beautiful things” that happen there, and start “smiling through the tears”.

“How do these doctors do operations on little, little bodies with little, little limbs, but they do,” he said, adding that he wanted to thank all the doctors, nurses and staff in all different functions for everything that they do at the hospital, especially for sick children.

The annual function serves as a moving tribute to the work all staff perform there throughout each year – attended by patients and their parents, staff, donors and friends of the hospital.

With 16 000 babies and children admitted to Tygerberg Children’s Hospital every year, and more than 105 000 children under the age of 13 treated annually in its outpatients division, the hospital “has a proud history and ongoing record of care and service”.

Clinical unit head of pulmonology for the hospital’s children’s unit, Rob Gie, said the service was an inspirational and uplifting occasion every year. “It’s wonderful to receive thanks for the privilege to be able to work in Tygerberg Hospital and care for all these children,” Gie said.

He also thanked Tutu for his tireless work over the years and for giving his time and energy to raise funds for the hospital. But the unsung heroes, he said, were the nurses, teachers, social workers, dieticians, household and administrative staff.

“The doctors always get the attention, but without these staff Tygerberg Hospital would be nothing,” he said.

Tygerberg Children’s Hospital is the only dedicated children’s hospital within a main hospital in South Africa.

“Caring for pregnant mothers and newborns, while close to the health care of the rest of the family, the hospital is also a world leader in the treatment and research of tuberculosis, and involved in extensive research projects in the field of HIV and Aids, cancer and the care of newborn babies,” a statement by the hospital said.