For the past three years, the Western Cape Department of Health and its valued partners, have brought life-changing experiences to the lives of hundreds of vulnerable people.
Now in 2019, South Africa’s 25th year of democracy, the Project’s aim was to do 10 free life-changing procedures for every one year of our democracy. The target was to improve the lives of another 250 patients requiring cataract removals, orthopaedic surgery, ENT procedures, and hip and knee replacements.
Not only did they achieve the target but by collaborating and being innovative additional procedures such as sterilisations and gastroscopy were added, which then led to more than 400 patients receiving various health procedures.
Head of Department Dr Beth Engelbrecht:
“We set ourselves a huge target this year knowing that it would take a collective effort in reaching it. We salute and thank our partners and our staff who volunteered their time and resources in making a difference in someone’s life. By working together we can restore quality and dignity of life.”
Two patients who received surgery as part of the Mandela Day Project share their stories on how their lives have been enriched through this project:
Ivan Badja, a 10 year old boy received CO2 Laser treatment after sustaining 60% flame burn when an older friend threw turpentine on an open fire. “The team at Red Cross Hospital and the community support has been amazing. Every day we grow together and the laser treatment is helping a lot. He can bend his arms more and the scarring is softer, thinner and looks much better. Ivan turns 11 in August and enjoys playing cricket and soccer with his friends,” says his mother, Emmerentia.
Mrs Nothobele Albertina Mathambo, a 62-year old was having difficulty at work due to her poor vision. Following a consultation with the doctor Tina was informed that her one eye was dry and partially blind, and that cataract surgery was recommended for her. “People hear the word ‘operation’ and they tend to be put off by it. In reality, however, it is a much simpler procedure. It only took about half an hour for the whole procedure to be completed. Cataract surgery really improved my life.”