For a second year, professional medical indemnity provider, EthiQal, has made a financial contribution to Operation Healing Hands (OHH), a non-profit organisation that performs life-saving surgeries in the public sector.
EthiQal is the medico-legal division of Constantia Insurance, and their contribution to OHH has boosted the NPO’s efforts to perform life-enhancing surgeries during what OHH term “Mandela Month”. 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.
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, OHH 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.
“Dr Basson approached us last year to join this heart-warming initiative and we are pleased that we can continue to offer our assistance,” says Alex Brownlee, Executive at EthiQal. “OHH is a much-needed cause in this country and its dedication to changing lives for the better runs parallel to our commitment to preserving and protecting the highest level of quality medical care in South Africa. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic limiting the number of surgeries that have been performed this year, we are pleased that our contribution will enable further surgeries to take place during Mandela Month.”
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.
The country’s state medical services cannot meet the demands of all the patients that need help. By supporting the doctors and hospitals who facilitate these vital, selfless surgeries, EthiQal is improving access to more equitable quality healthcare in South Africa.
“This year has been one of unprecedented times, where our world has been turned upside down. Suddenly every company and every individual went into survival mode and those who were suffering prior to the pandemic, were often left to suffer even more due to funds being distributed to COVID-related needs,” says Dr Helené Basson, CEO and Founder of OHH. “To find a company still willing to help despite being under the immense pressure that 2020 has dislodged on us is rare. I want to deeply thank EthiQal on behalf of OHH and our patients, for their dedication to making a difference in difficult times and for setting the example of what it means to lead. We are proud to be associated with EthiQal and we will continue to do what we can for those who need us most.”