Children in hospital commonly experience high levels of anxiety, isolation, fear and loneliness. These emotions are amplified when, as is frequently the case, there is little communication or consultation with them about their condition, diagnoses and treatment. Research demonstrates that children’s well-being in hospital can be significantly improved through access to stimulating age-appropriate recreational and educational activities. There is also increasing recognition of the value that a child’s perspective can offer, in order to improve hospital environments and experiences for children.
Child-produced radio is a rapidly developing field, with preliminary evidence pointing to many positive outcomes for both children and adults. While there are a number of children’s hospital radio stations globally, this will be the first in the world to involve patients as programme producers and broadcast presenters with the explicit aim of foregrounding and improving children’s experiences of illness and hospital.
What is RX Radio?
Our Vision, Mission and Values
A place of solace, well-being and lively experience.
RX Radio is a children’s hospital radio station, by and for children. It strives to empower all children attending Red Cross Children’s Hospital, to tell and listen to their stories about issues that are important to them. In this way we contribute in order to improve the hospital experience and wellbeing of each child and family members.
- Full participation
- Collaboration (teamwork)
- Competency and quality
RX Radio is one of the first hospital radio station for, and led by, children. RX Radio has been established under the auspices of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital Facility Board. We began operations on the 1st of December 2016. The initiative aims to create a platform for communication between hospitalised children, their families, and the health services by providing patients with the skills and support to produce and broadcast radio programmes across the hospital.
Live magazine-format shows, anchored by children in the hospital, will entertain and engage other patients. Shows will include programmes pre-recorded and produced by patients about their experiences and interests, programmes produced for children, music, as well as interactive games, competitions, dedications and discussions in which children can participate on air from their hospital beds.
In conclusion, in the next two years, we will provide approximately 80 chronically ill children with the skills to produce and broadcast programmes about their experiences to the broader hospital community, give health workers and family members important new insights into a hospitalised child’s unique perspective, and provide vital emotional support and mental stimulation to thousands of ill children during their stay at the hospital.
Dr Gabriel Urgoiti (Station Manager)
Gabriel Urgoiti is a medical doctor working in the field of child health, child participation and communication for development and social change for the last 35 years. As a health professional he worked at primary, secondary and tertiary levels (urban and rural settings) for over 17 years. For the past 19 years he has worked as an independent consultant, providing services to organizations and institutions in 20 African countries.
He was a founder member of two of South Africa’s first community radio stations, Radio Zibonele in Khayelitsha and Bush Radio in Cape Town. He was actively involved in the birth and growth of the community radio sector in South Africa and Southern Africa. He was a member of the team that established the National Progressive Primary Health Care Network Media Training Centre and its first director from 1994 to 1999. He has extensive experience in working with children, using child-centered methodologies to provide children with the opportunity to express their opinions, feelings and perceptions on issues that affect them, and using media as a vehicle to tell their own stories.
Gabriel’s qualifications include: MBChB (University of Buenos Aires, Argentina); Diploma in Child Health (Faculty of Paediatrics, College of Medicine of South Africa); Master of Philosophy: Maternal and Child Health (Faculty of Medicine, University of Cape Town); Postgraduate Diploma in Health Management (University of Cape Town, Fellow of the Oliver Tambo Fellowship Programme).
Noluyolo Ngomani (Senior Radio Producer)
Noluyolo (Yolie) Ngomani is the Senior Radio Producer for RX Radio, which is mainly about producing and looking into different stories and interests of children. Yolie holds an Honours Degree in Media Theory and Practice from University of Cape Town and she also holds an MA Degree (Media Theory and Practice) from the same institution.
During the process of completing her Honours she interned at Cape Talk, and also worked as a Voice-Over Artist for various productions and institutions such as World Workers Media. Radio Production has also been Yolie’s passion, as she also obtained a Radio Production Certificate at National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa. In order to complete the training at NEMISA, she had to intern at Radio Today. Lastly, Yolie has taught and tutored 2nd and 3rd year students Radio Production and Media Studies at the University of Cape Town.
Wayne Boonzaaier (Junior Radio Producer)
Wayne Boonzaaier is the Junior Radio Producer, which primarily revolves around assisting children to develop and refine their ideas for radio programmes.
He graduated from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology with a National Diploma in Journalism. During the time of his studies he worked as a radio presenter at MFM 92.6 in Stellenbosch & CPUT’s UNIFM. Thereafter, he completed an internship at Bush Radio 89.5FM as a news intern.
Lwazi Volsak (Project Officer)
Lwazi Volsak is the Project Officer for RX Radio. This role primarily sees him overseeing the finance & administration of the project. Lwazi holds a BCom in Accounting from the University of Cape Town.
He has a keen interest in all things radio related and was a part of UCT Radio as a presenter in 2016. In the role of Project Officer he has the unique opportunity of combining his financial qualification with his passion for radio. In his spare time he enjoys listening to music and watching sports like rugby & soccer. He loves interacting with people and is eager to help RX Radio reach new heights.
Chris Booth (Intern)
Chris Booth is the current intern for RX Radio. He is primarily responsible for conducting listener groups and generating content for podcasts.
Chris attended Rhodes University where he obtained his Bachelor of Journalism and Masters in Health Journalism. He has worked as a reporter and podcast presenter for the South African National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, as well as a broadcast tutor for 2nd year radio students at Rhodes University. He has recently returned from Japan where he taught English for two years.
The Advisory Committee
RX Radio is supported by a highly skilled Advisory Comimittee. The committee members are:
Ms. Carla Brown Prof. Mark Tomlinson Ms. Helen Meintjes
Head of Peadiatric Haematology-Oncology service at The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital
Head of Social Work at The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital
Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University
Head of Programmes at the Children’s Hospital Trust
Ms. Carla Brown
Prof. Mark Tomlinson
Ms. Helen Meintjes
Dr. Tanja Bosch Mr Shepi Mati Ms Libby Lloyd Mr Ramabina Mahapa
Broadcaster, Film maker and Activist
Senior Lecturer for Film and Media Studies at UCT
Lecturer in Radio Journalism at Rhodes University
Independent Researcher in ICT’s, Broadcasting and Media
Researcher in the Department of Public Law at UCT
Dr. Tanja Bosch
Mr Shepi Mati
Ms Libby Lloyd
Mr Ramabina Mahapa
Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital
The Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital was built in 1956 and remains a cornerstone of child healthcare in Southern Africa. It is widely renowned as a centre of excellence, for both treatment of children and the training of health professionals.
The Hospital is the first stand-alone tertiary hospital in sub-Saharan Africa, dedicated entirely to children.
The Hospital’s patients are referred from the Western Cape, the rest of South Africa and our continent. The Hospital provides training to paediatric healthcare professionals from the entire sub-continent and does important research into the illnesses of childhood, which has global impact.
With a total of 300 beds, the hospital manages on average 260 000 patients visits each year comprising over 21 000 in-patient admissions, 180 000 outpatient visits, and approximately 61 000 patient visits to Allied health professionals. The radio station thus has the potential to reach a large number of children, including many from poor communities, with its programming.
The over 800 Health care staff at the hospital stand to benefit from exposure to children’s own articulations of their experiences and concerns, directly via interviews during programme production as well as through hearing the broadcasts in the wards. It is hoped that this exposure will develop among health care workers a deeper understanding of appropriate approaches to communication and health care with their patients.
The project team is aware of the delicate balance between the right of the child to be protected and right of the child to participate.
Given that the children are central to the initiative, due and proper consent processes will apply as a crucial prerequisite for the children’s participation. The project is designed to ensure that all caregivers are well informed of the project through meetings and workshops, so that they can participate and ask questions to enable informed decisions in considering the participation of each child. In addition to consultation with caregivers, children will also participate in consent workshops that explain the process and outcomes of the project. This is an effort to enable and enhance their own understanding so that they can make their own decision about their participation. Caregivers and children who choose to participate will sign formal consent forms.