For their contribution to Nelson Mandela International Day, specialist doctors at Mankweng Hospital, outside Polokwane, in Limpopo, are performing life-changing operations on 67 children.
A group of specialist doctors is providing free surgery for children in desperate need.
Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba says the initiative of operating on the 67 children was inspired by former President Nelson Mandela’s love for children.
Ramathuba says the initiative will continue even after Nelson Mandela Day.
“What better way of celebrating his legacy than by living what he believed in, health care for the children. Hence you see us coming up with this project to say let’s get our 67 children who have been waiting to be operated on.”
The doctors will conduct various complex operations on the children as part of reducing surgical backlogs in the province.
Currently, there is a backlog of more than 4 000 surgeries at public hospitals in Limpopo. Specialist plastic surgeon, Dr Thendo Ntshiongolwe says the children will be cared for by a team of specialists.
“Today we are gathered here at Mankweng as a Nelson Mandela initiative, Nelson Mandela was always about giving back to the kids, so we are going to be operating on the kids. Our aim is to operate on the 67 kids of which about 45 are going to be done here and the rest are going to be done in rural hospitals, we are fortunate to have a brilliant team of anesthetics, to be able to anesthetise on such young babies.”
Some of the children being operated on are newborns while others are below the age of 12. The mothers of some of the children say they are grateful.
“I am here for my daughter’s operation, she has an umbilical hernia. Finally, I am here at Mankweng, they will help her at last,” says one of the parents.
The initiative has also attracted the attention of other surgeons who practice outside Limpopo, inspiring them to follow suit.
South Africans are engaged in different activities to celebrate Nelson Mandela Day :