We owe Colonel Grogan a tremendous debt of gratitude on behalf of the rising generation. “Not only is the whole Hospital his gift to the children of East Africa, but his personal interest, drive and perseverance have been largely instrumental in thrashing the way through all the regulations and controls which make construction work such a nightmare to the ordinary citizen.” From a report on the progress of the Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital, given by Mrs. F.O.B Wilson in January 1947, shortly before the establishment of the Hospital.
Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital was founded in 1947, with the donation of some land by Colonel Ewart Grogan, pioneer extraordinary, in memory of his beloved wife, Gertrude Edith. As the years go by, Gertrude’s Hospital has becomes more and more of a ‘giving’ hospital. It has won prestigious awards for its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). Gertrude’s from the beginning was and will always be a simple hospital: it now has completed the full circle by becoming a place of hope for sick children who have no expectations elsewhere, which was what Grogan planned in his bid to help London orphans.
Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital is a charitable trust, meaning that all profits are ploughed back into the hospital. It is run by a Board of Trustees who offer their services voluntarily in the day-to-day running of the hospital since they are responsible for all policy decisions. They do not receive any rewards or emoluments for the charitable work they do. Whereas paying patients provide the main monies for the hospital’s routine management, Gertrude’s is often reliant on donors for the purchase of the expensive paediatric equipment it requires to remain an up-to-date organisation. Any appeals for funds are almost always for the charitable work to which the hospital is committed. It is interesting to note that for the recent building extensions, Gertrude’s ‘went it alone’, shouldering the entire expense out of its own investments. Gertrude’s officially marked its Diamond Jubilee on April 8, 2008.
This celebration fittingly marked the formal opening of the new Outpatient Department, inclusive of the Accident & Emergency unit and the Doctors’ Plaza. For an organisation that began in 1947 with few staff and only 16 beds, this was a significant occasion, as Gertrude’s is now able to offer a genuine one-stop paediatric centre that can provide almost every available treatment that a child might need. It was indeed a fitting time to remember with thanks all those who have subscribed in the past, and those who continue to do so into the future, to create this unique centre of paediatric excellence in Sub-Sahara Africa.
Today: Gertrude’s Garden Children’s Hospital stands on the site of the Sandbach Bakers’ house and is the theme of the Muthaiga Panel. The Panel shows the hospital, and surrounded by the children he loves, Ewart Grogan, Kenya’s Grand Old Man and elder statesman, who is as famous today for his part in building the country as for his epic journey from the Cape to Cairo.