Mandela Day Surgeries Project 2019 | Western Cape Government


Mandela Day Surgeries Project 2019

17 July 2019

Mandela Day Surgeries Project restores quality and dignity of life to 250 patients

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, our 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.

Through the Department’s committed vision, not only did we 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!

Having to do more with less – the Department’s Mandela Day Surgeries project demonstrates the commitment to find innovative ways to restore dignity and quality of life.

In 2017, the Department initiated this project to provide 67 additional surgeries to those vulnerable patients who wait long for hip and knee surgery. 27 hip replacements and 40 cataract removal procedures were done.

Then in 2018, the ambitious target of 100 operations, commemorating Mandela’s 100th birthday, led to 195 people receiving life-changing procedures.

 In extracting the essence of both the Batho Pele principles and the Western Cape Government core values, the Department has developed a powerful internal Pledge. An extract reads “Our binding philosophy is that we aim to do the greatest good for the greatest number, creating the greatest value for all, leveraging our available resources. In our decisions we will always consider the vulnerable and favour their plight…”

“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,” said Dr Beth Engelbrecht, Head of Department.

“This project speaks to the ideals and the values that Mandela embraced such as justice, equality and dignity. These life transforming surgeries have given our patients dignity and a new lease of life. Public Private Partnership is the cornerstone of the department our funders have contributed towards a healthy population and economic development, ours is to keep providing enabling environment that will make the private sector contribute more towards the realising the goal of a healthy population,” said Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Minister of Health.

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.”


Media Enquiries: 

Alaric Jacobs
Western Cape Government: Health
Groote Schuur Hospital
Principal Communications Officer
Tel: 083 412 5608