Health Department celebrates Madiba’s legacy by giving life changing operations to more than 100 patients through its #Operation100 project

For the second year running the Western Cape Government Health gave life to Madiba’s legacy in making a difference to people’s lives, especially our most vulnerable citizens.  The Head of Department’s brainchild, #Operation100, ensured almost 200 vulnerable patients received life-changing surgery and operations.

These operations were additional to what the Department planned and budgeted for the year, but with the help of generous sponsors and donors we were able to change the quality of these patients’ lives for the better.

Two such patients attended a small acknowledgement ceremony at Groote Schuur Hospital today (16 July 2018) to celebrate the collective efforts of a team of dedicated and committed staff and sponsors. Seeing the impact such noble gestures can have on someone’s life, was the ultimate reward.

Meet Zharane Lewin, a 2 year old patient from Grassy Park. Zharane was diagnosed with enlarged tonsils at the age of one which severely affected her quality of life as she could not eat solid foods which affected her nutritional intake as well as overall health condition. After struggling for just over a year with Zharane’s condition, her parents received a phone call from Red Cross Children’s Hospital informing them that Zharane met the criteria and was selected to undergo a tonsillectomy at the hospital as part of the department’s #Operation100 project. Her thankful parents leapt with joy and a few weeks later Zharane underwent the surgery and today is blossoming as a 2-year old should.

Another appreciative patient is 56 year old Robert Francis from Mitchells Plain, who suffered from arthritis to his hip for the past five (5) years which resulted in him having to live with constant pain in the affected areas and at times affected his mobility. Robert underwent successful hip surgery and is still on the road to full recovery but can now look forward to enjoying his 57th birthday on Mandela Day (18 July 2018) with no more pain!

In 2017, the Department’s first project improved the lives of 67 patients (27 hip/knee replacements and 40 cataract surgeries).

This year, the Head of Health Dr Beth Engelbrecht again called on staff (who donated their time to perform the surgeries) and the private industry for financial and consumable support to rally behind Madiba’s call. Operation100 aimed to reach 100 patients, but through our generous sponsors and committed staff the project benefited 195 people! We almost reached twice as many people, which again is testament that if public and private work together we can achieve so much more.

Collectively, George-, Paarl-, Worcester-, New Somerset-, Groote Schuur-, Eerste River-, Mitchells Plain-, Khayelitsha-, Vredendal- and Red Cross Hospital performed 195 procedures consisting of:

  • 29 hip/knee replacements
  • 90 cataract removal surgeries (of which 40 were done at Vredendal Hospital)
  • 28 Ear, Nose and Throat procedures
  • 40 female sterilizations
  • 8 Gynaecology and Urology procedures

“We are privileged as a Department to be giving back to the community through this initiative. It warms my heart to see how people’s lives have been changed by these surgeries. We have been able, with the help of our private partners to add value to the lives of many patients. We have proven that by working together, we can achieve our goal (of 100 surgeries) and even more. Thank you to all the donors who came on board to assist in giving back to the community. We are true living the Madiba legacy” said Western Cape Minister of Health, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo.

“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. Trauma cases demand prioritisation, thus pushing back elective surgery. The Department has added Tonsillitis, Sterilisation and Tympanoplasty (reconstruction of the ear drum) as these services have also seen a high demand. The addition of the ENT surgery gave us the chance to include children in this project, something we all know was close to Madiba’s heart. Also within the context of diminishing resources, this is a welcome chance to catch up on some of the elective surgery and improve the quality of life of our patients,” said Dr Engelbrecht.

The 2018 sponsors and donors:

  • Mediclinic
  • Sea Harvest
  • Ackerman Foundation
  • High level Nursing agency
  • Corin
  • Smith and Nephew
  • The Radiance Foundation
  • The Groote Schuur Hospital Facilities Board

Caption: Lewin family before surgery

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