I can see! Septuagenarian’s sight restored

Netcare looking to help more people through free cataract surgery

Monday, June 15 2015

Seventy-six-year-old John Chimphepo recently had his sight restored after living with poor vision due to a cataract for many years. He was entirely blind in his left eye before the surgery, with only limited vision in his right eye.

“I am surprised how well I can see now, since my operation,” the retired housekeeper exclaims. This after Mr Chimphepo had the procedure to remove a cataract from his left eye at Netcare Alberlito Hospital, in Ballito on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.

Cataracts reduce the transparency of the lens of the eye and can lead to blindness if not treated. In fact, cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Netcare, through its Corporate Social Investment (CSI) arm, the Netcare Foundation, is seeking to reach out to more people, like Mr Chimphepo, who are in need of cataract removal.

The sprightly septuagenarian is just one of the beneficiaries of the Netcare sight programme, which is also supported by Vodacom, Nedbank and Alcon, as well as numerous healthcare practitioners at Netcare hospitals who volunteer their time and expertise to perform cataract removal surgery.

Pic:Seventy-six-year-old John Chimphepo recently had his sight restored after living with poor vision due to a cataract for many years.

Although cataracts are more common in older people, they can affect any age group. Cataract removal surgery, which completely restores vision, is performed at a number of Netcare hospitals, with the peak in such surgeries being undertaken as part of Netcare’s corporate social responsibility initiatives during Eye Care Awareness Month in September/October.

Mr Chimphepo’s former employer, Jenny Maxwell, says she was touched by the elderly man’s excitement at being able to see again.

“The results of the operation far exceeded his expectations and on our return trip, after the operation, he kept repeating, “I can see! I can see!”

The Netcare Foundation was established in 2010 and is registered as a public benefit company. It is governed by a board of trustees.

Netcare’s general manager: emergency, trauma, transplant CSI, Mande Toubkin, says the sight programme is just one of the Netcare Foundation’s outreach projects helping to improve the quality of life of those in need.

“Through our sight programme, we are offering free medical intervention to help disadvantaged people whose vision is impaired by cataracts,” Toubkin explains.

In order to qualify for surgery through the sight programme, applicants must be South African citizens and present their identity document or birth certificate. They must either be unemployed or reliant on a state grant. If they do receive an income, it should be no more than R2 000 per month. A means-of-living test will be applied.

Applicants also should have no access to medical scheme or insurance cover and need to provide their own transport for consultations.

Applicants or their family members are invited to make contact via email on [email protected] or telephonically on (011) 301 0374 or (011) 301 0107.



Issued by: Martina Nicholson Associates (MNA) on behalf of Netcare Foundation
Contact : Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Sarah Wilson or Meggan Saville
Telephone: (011) 469 3016
Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]