Health, Nov. 22, 2019, 11:20 a.m.

TNPA donation brings Squint Surgery Saturdays to life at St John’s Eye Hospital

Author: riaan@wecanchange.co.za

Children aged two to five years old who are on the government waiting list for Strabismus (squint eye) surgery will now benefit from the St Johns Eye Hospital’s Squint Surgery Saturday initiative which kicked off this month.

The programme was made possible through a donation of R50 000 from South African port landlord, Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA).

 

TNPA’s annual donation of R50,000 for three years covers the overtime costs of surgical staff supporting a team of ophthalmologists who have opted to conduct the surgeries voluntarily every second Saturday at the Soweto hospital. A total of 30 children annually will benefit from the programme. Only six children are catered for a month and the hospital has a waiting list up to November 2020.

 

The first five children who underwent surgery on Saturday, 2 November 2019 were Olwethu Mbalo, Sphelele Gazi, Iliso Matenzhe Mukosi, Phiwokuhle Radebe and Vision Andani Mukhesi. 

 

Strabismus is a vision condition in which a person cannot align both eyes simultaneously under normal conditions.

 

“Children born with squint eyes face challenges of being ridiculed, low self esteem and learning challenges. However, if squint is corrected at an early age, children can live a normal life as the surgery can improve eye alignment and vision, reduce eye fatigue and generally improve their social and professional opportunities,” Shadi Montjane, National Corporate Social Investment Manager at TNPA.

 

Montjane said St John’s Eye Hospital was nominated as a cause for TNPA to support, by the company’s Executive Manager: Corporate Affairs, Ayanda Mantshongo as part of the organisation’s Mandela Day activities earlier this year. Each Mandela Day TNPA calls upon its employees to nominate worthy causes, particularly any for which they volunteer in their personal time.

 

Mantshongo also nominated the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital's Paediatric Ophalmology Ward, where TNPA’s head office employees renovated and spring cleaned the ward where caregivers accompanying children are usually not catered for in terms of sleeping arrangements.