Eye Health

Updated 08 March 2018

Gauteng Health Dept fast-tracks eye ops in honour of Madiba

The Gauteng Department of Health reduced cataract operation backlogs for Mandela Day, helping to restore vision among the elderly.

The Gauteng Department of Health accelerated cataract surgeries in its facilities as part of contributing to the Nelson Mandela International Day campaign.

The Nelson Mandela International Day was launched in recognition of Nelson Mandela’s birthday on 18 July in 2009 through a unanimous decision of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. 

It was inspired by a call Nelson Mandela made a year earlier for the next generation to take on the burden of leadership in addressing the world’s social injustices when he said that “it is in your hands now”. The day is more than a celebration of Madiba’s life and legacy. It is a global movement to honour his life’s work and act to change the world for the better.

The department reported backlogs in cataract surgeries and the Health MEC, Ms Qedani Mahlangu, told the Gauteng legislature during her department’s Budget Vote last month (June) – that her department is implementing measures to reduce the backlogs.

More about cataracts

A cataract is a clouding of the lens inside the eye causing vision loss that cannot be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or corneal refractive surgery. Modern cataract surgery usually can restore vision lost to cataracts and often can reduce dependence on eyeglasses as well.

Read: Cutting edge of cataract surgery

Most cataracts are associated with the ageing process and are common among older citizens. 

During July healthcare workers dedicated their extra time to provide this life changing service. At the Lenasia Community Healthcare Center, 20 cataract operations were done to, mainly, elder citizens.

As of 3 July 2015 the New Natalspruit Hospital has also done ten (10) operations and the operations was to continue until Sunday, 19 July 2015.

Another facility that did these operations include Leratong Hospital, in the West Rand, and it aimed to do no less than 50 between 17 – 19 July.

The Nelson Mandela International Day inspires dedication and reminds healthcare professionals of their pledge to the service the ill.

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Image: Close up of a cataract from Shutterstock


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Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

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