What began as a one-week charity drive in 2016, to honour the legacy of Nelson Mandela, has grown into an NPO that to date has performed 355 surgeries on disadvantaged, clinically eligible patients.
Founded by Dr Helené Basson, a Pretoria orthopaedic surgeon, Operation Healing Hands (OHH), a non-profit organisation that performs life-saving surgeries in the public sector, was established as a platform where private sector medical professionals could help relieve the heavy burden on state hospitals, while improving the quality of life for as many patients as possible.
For a second year, professional medical indemnity provider, EthiQal, the medico-legal division of Constantia Insurance, has made a financial contribution to OHH. As medical personnel work pro bono and hospitals sponsor theatre time and in-hospital stays, all financial contributions to OHH are used to cover the additional expenses of medical services on behalf of its patients.
The surgeries are mostly for orthopaedic cases and will occur at Advanced Groenkloof Day Hospital. One of the surgeries will include a seven-year-old boy who has severe cerebral palsy. He weighs only 9.5kg and will be receiving a much-needed PEG tube to help him swallow.
During July, OHH run their Mandela Month campaign, where they focus on helping as many people as possible. Since the country went into lockdown and hospital beds have been used predominantly for COVID-19 patients, the number of operations performed through OHH has been limited. Despite the difficulties the pandemic has brought, OHH has helped a further 33 people this year, who would otherwise not have had the means to afford surgery.