Western Cape Health performs 67 additional surgeries for Mandela Day
In keeping with Madiba’s legacy, the Western Cape Government Health has rallied enough support from our partners in society to perform life-changing operations for 67 patients over and above what would have been possible.
For Mandela Day this year, Head of Health Dr Beth Engelbrecht, and her team initiated a project to perform an additional 67 operations (27 hip/knee replacements and 40 cataract surgeries).
As part of this truly life changing initiative, the department called on the private sector, medical professionals and the media for help to fund the 67 operations at approximately R1.5million.
“It is amazing how people came together to put the needs of others before anything else. When we began the Mandela day challenge it was a tough ask, but the generous support of all our partners, sponsors and medical teams made the task so much lighter. I am humbled by the way everyone just pulled together” said Dr Engelbrecht. She further indicated that this initiative has energized other exciting developments in the Department for Mandela day.
As the project gained momentum, the initiative raised more than R1.8million for these surgeries to take place at nine facilities across the Metro/Province. These facilities are – Eerste River Hospital for all the cataracts, eight (8) hospitals for hips and knees: Tygerberg, Groote Schuur, George, Paarl, Worcester, Victoria, Mitchells Plain, New Somerset.
The department, through its district, regional and tertiary hospitals, conducts 6500 cataract operations, 300 total hip replacement operations and 300 total knee replacement operations per year.
The additional 67 operations for Mandela Day were performed for people who were identified through the Department’s central waiting list as those in dire need.
The waiting list shows that the average waiting time for cataract surgery is around 18 months. For hip and knee surgery it is approximately two years. The current list includes more than 4000 people waiting for an athroplasty surgery.
With the health budget diminishing and the influx of people into the Western Cape, together with an increasing acute load due to trauma, providing elective surgeries such as hip and knee replacements have in recent years become increasingly sought after.
The department estimates that it would need a total of more than R400 million to clear the current waiting lists for athroplasty.
Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, Western Cape Health Minister, said the success of the Mandela Day partnership was a sign of exciting things to come.
“This Mandela Day we have shown what is possible through private and public sector collaboration. This initiative is a blueprint for future partnerships. We call on business to support us in these life-changing initiatives for our people in the Western Cape” said Dr Mbombo.
Photo Caption: Some of the Mandela day patients celebrate with the sponsors on their new lease on life.
Photo credit: Western Cape Government Health
Note to Editors’
- The Department raised sufficient funds to perform the necessary 67 operations. In the end 66 operations were performed. (28 knee and hip replacements and 38 cataracts). Two patients who were scheduled to receive the cataract surgery on 15 July did not present to the hospital.
- The Department also has a second initiative of giving back to communities and helping them prosper. In living up to Nelson Mandela’s legacy, the Western Cape Government Health in the rural areas reallocated funding to enable the purchase of 67 extra hearing aids in commemoration of the Great Man. The hearing aids will be distributed to needy patients throughout the rural areas of Eden, West Coast, Cape Winelands and the Overberg.
Issued by the Directorate: Communications for Western Cape Government Health.