Islamic Relief has signed an official agreement with the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust in Johannesburg, heralding the ‘Islamic Relief Oncology Centre of Excellence’.

The formal funding agreement – which is worth USD $10 million and was signed today –marks the beginning of our funding an oncology centre in South Africa which will transform life-saving care for children across the region Africa. The centre is being hailed as a fitting part of the legacy of Nelson Mandela, as the world marks the first anniversary of his passing.

An awe-inspiring contribution from Islamic Relief donors

Delegates in Johannesburg meet to sign official agreement.

Delegates in Johannesburg meet to sign official agreement.

Sibongile Mkhabela, CEO of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, said: “As we reflect on the one year anniversary of Mr Mandela’s passing, we as the Hospital Trust are humbled by the support of Islamic Relief. On behalf of our board, we would like to thank their global donor community for this awe-inspiring donation.”

The agreement was signed during a site visit to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, which is being constructed in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Islamic Relief Worldwide trustee Tahir Salie, CEO Dr Mohamed Ashmawey and Islamic Relief South Africa country director, Yusuf Patel visited the site, alongside representatives from the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust.

Transforming cancer care across Africa

Rates of childhood cancer are rising across Africa. But, more than 40 per cent of children never receive the specialist care they need. Whilst in countries like the UK the survival rate is as high as 80 per cent, in South Africa, one in two children with cancer will die.

An artist's impression of the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital.

An artist’s impression of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital.

As a centre of clinical excellence, when the oncology unit opens it will enable more children across Africa to beat cancer, says Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, CEO of Islamic Relief Worldwide: “Nelson Mandela gave us the vision of a world for our children that binds all of our hearts together. We had to be a part of this.

“Islamic Relief and its supporters around the world today are humbled and honoured to become a part of that vision and a part of his lasting legacy. The Islamic Relief Oncology Centre of Excellence will provide intensive paediatric and specialist care, and serves the last wish of Nelson Mandela to build this hospital in Johannesburg. No child will be turned away because they cannot afford to pay.

“This is foremost a state-of-the-art children’s hospital in southern Africa – but it will go further to, God willing, play a transformative role for improving child-centred healthcare in the continent of Islamic Relief’s roots, where we started our work 30 years ago.”

Construction of the 200-bed Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital began in 2014 and is due to complete in 2016.

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