Welkom: Yesterday; 29 November 2017,  Mediclinic in collaboration Bongani Regional Hospital, and the Free State Department of Health and Dr Steve Steyn; an ophthalmic surgeon in private practice, performed twenty cataract surgeries at Mediclinic Welkom, a first for Mediclinic in the Free State. These collaborative pro bono procedures help to alleviate the public ophthalmic surgical waiting lists at local and regional public hospital facilities.

The procedures also help broaden access to quality healthcare to all South Africans as part of a Private Public Initiative (PPI). Mediclinic’s participation is based on shared capacity and expertise between the private and public healthcare sectors, in an effort to assist in alleviating the burden of long public surgery waiting lists.

The 20 life-changing procedures were undertaken on a pro-bono basis at Mediclinic Welkom hospital by respected ophthalmic surgeon Dr Steve Steyn. This partnership forms part of a significant investment in collaborative CSI initiatives, where Mediclinic is collaborating with the public sector on more than 100 operations on patients currently awaiting surgery in many of the busiest public sector hospitals.

The Mediclinic surgical facilities, nursing staff and expertise from Mediclinic associated doctors, are provided free of charge in a collaboration with the local public-sector hospital. This CSI collaboration is part of the current national roll-out of pro bono surgeries by Mediclinic and is the very first of its nature to be performed at a Free State based hospital.

Over the last ten years Mediclinic has successfully collaborated with various Departments of Health across the country to provide support in broadening access to healthcare services. Between September and December of this year, the first round of PPI procedures were carried out at four Mediclinic hospitals in the Western Cape, either by doctors associated with Mediclinic or from the public sector.

Operations included cataract, urology and tympanoplasty (eardrum repair) procedures. The Welkom cataract surgeries now extend the programme to the Free State province as the benefits are spread further afield.

“I wish to thank Mediclinic for the extension of the collaborative surgeries programme to the Free State and the people of Welkom. The partnership is not just about performing surgical procedures on public patients, but through this partnership, we are strengthening our working relationship with the public hospitals and adding value together. We are taking hands with our partners in the private sector in seeking a better health future for all the people of South Africa,” said Free State MEC for Health, Butana Komphela.

Bob Govender; Industry Affairs Executive of Mediclinic Southern Africa, stressed that by adding value to the entire healthcare value chain we are better able to meet the need for quality healthcare for all South Africans. “It is critical for all players in healthcare to play their part, private and public alike. Mediclinic is proud to do our bit to alleviate the public surgical waiting lists due to the severe shortage of doctors and nurses in the country.” said Govender.

Free State Provincial Health Head of Department, Dr David Motau, expressed his gratitude to Mediclinic for this collaborative effort in the Free State. “I wish to thank Mediclinic as a leading private hospital group for its commitment to quality healthcare in our country. If we want to rise to the many healthcare challenges, we should all work together to meet the significant healthcare needs of all our people. Through initiatives like these cataract procedures undertaken at Mediclinic Welkom today, we can spread the workload and gain the expert contributions from everyone in the healthcare community,” states Dr Motau.

“As private hospital sector leader, Mediclinic welcomed the opportunity to make a positive contribution to the broader South African healthcare environment. We are also thankful that we are able to extend the programme to the Free State province and spread the benefit of the programme across the country,” stated Frikkie Burger, Operations Executive of Mediclinic’s Free State Region

“Mediclinic Welkom is excited about the chance we have to give back to some of our community members. While cataract surgery is a relatively simple procedure, the effects of the operation can be life-changing. I would like to thank Dr Steve Steyn and the entire Mediclinic Welkom for their time as well as the quality care they are always ready to deliver to our patients,” concluded Frans van Niekerk, the Hospital General Manager of Mediclinic Welkom.

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