JOURNALISTS from Brazil, Russia and China – all Brics member countries – were given a close up view of one of the best medical facilities in Johannesburg on Tuesday, 25 June when they visited the Donald Gordon Medical Centre at Wits University.
They are in South Africa for a week-long infrastructure tour as guests of Brand South Africa. The purpose of the tour is to drive a positive perception change about the country and its people, taking an upbeat message to the international community, in line with the Brand South Africa international mandate.
Miller Matola, Brand South Africa’s chief executive officer, said media tour would increase the presence of a South African voice by developing symbiotic partnerships with active markets, and deliver the nation’s brand to a foreign audience.
“As an inspirational country with countless opportunities for both its citizens and the global community, South Africa is always looking for an opportunity to tell its story with a dynamic approach.”
They were met at the Donald Gordon Medical Centre by the practice manager, Angela Nel, and Doctor Liam Brannigan, who showed them around the radiology unit, operating rooms and critical care unit.
The journalists, who were impressed by the state-of-the-art facility, asked about the number of patients admitted to the facility each day and maintenance of the equipment.
The medical centre is the first private academic hospital in the country, established in 2002 by the University of the Witwatersrand to create a facility in the private sector for the training of specialists and sub-specialists.
Main specialties at the 190-bed facility are transplant surgery; oncology, both paediatric and adult; surgical gastroenterology; ophthalmology; ear, nose and throat; urology; nephrology; and orthopaedics. It is the largest solid organ transplant facility in South Africa, where adult and paediatric liver, kidney and pancreas transplants are performed.
From the medical centre, the visitors proceeded to the Department of Trade and Industry campus in Tshwane, where they were welcomed by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel. He told the journalists about the government’s National Infrastructure Plan, developed in 2012. It would focus on building new rail systems, ports, fuel pipes, roads and transport, human settlements neglected by the apartheid government, and water and sanitation across the country.
“The cost of the strategic infrastructure projects is estimated at about R4-trillion (about $400-billion) over the next 15 years. The bulk of the money will be guaranteed by the government and will be sourced from domestic and international markets,” said Patel, adding that there would be space for public and private partnership.
More work needed to be done in rural areas that were neglected by the apartheid government, he added. “We are also looking at promoting agro-processing in rural areas by building new roads that will connect them to the major markets.”
Lúcia de Camargo, from Brazil’s Diáario do Comércio newspaper, was impressed by the government’s efforts to improve the country. She described the tours as “informative and interesting”, adding: “I am trying to assimilate as much as possible and have no idea on what I should write.”
The media tour will end on 27 June in Port Elizabeth, where the delegation will visit the port to view the state-of-the-art motor vehicle terminal that loads and offloads one vehicle every 30 seconds.