Ivan Badja, 10, with his mother, Emmerentia, was a recipient of CO2 laser treatment after sustaining 60% burns. He was helped through the provincial Health Department’s Mandela Day Surgeries Project. Photo: Tracey Adams / African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Two patients who benefited from the provincial government’s Mandela Day Surgeries Project gave thanks yesterday to Groote Schuur hospital staff and all those who made their life-changing surgeries possible.

For the past three years, the provincial health department and its partners have brought life-changing experiences to hundreds of vulnerable people.

This year, 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.

Not only did the department achieve its 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.

Ten-year-old Ivan Badja received CO2 laser treatment after sustaining 60% burns when an older friend threw turpentine on an open fire.

His mom, Emmerentia Badja, said: “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.

“I am thankful for what Red Cross did for my child.” Ivan turns 11 next month and enjoys playing cricket and soccer with friends.

In celebration of Mandela Day, hundreds of Western Cape patients received much-needed surgery. Two of these recipients are 62-year-old Nothobele Mathambo who received cataract surgery, and 10-year-old Ivan Badja who received CO2 Laser treatment after sustaining 60% burns when an older friend threw turpentine on an open fire. Video: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA

Nothobele Mathambo, 62, of Khayelitsha, was partially blind and can now see clearly.

She said she had difficulty at work due to her poor vision, and following a consultation with a doctor, cataract surgery was recommended, which the Mandela Day Surgeries Project made possible. 

“I’m very excited, thank you to the Department of Health, doctors and everybody who assisted in this project.”

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo said the project spoke to the ideals and 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,” she said.

Cape Times