Gauteng hospitals carry out more than 700 surgeries for Mandela Day

Clinicians and nurses at the Steve Biko Academic hospital performing one of the 720 surgeries on Mandela Day. Picture: Supplied

Clinicians and nurses at the Steve Biko Academic hospital performing one of the 720 surgeries on Mandela Day. Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 20, 2023


Pretoria - Gauteng hospitals carried out more than 700 surgeries in one day, as part of the Nelson Mandela Day commemorations this week.

This was as 32 hospitals across the province saw hundreds of patients going under the knife for surgical procedures ranging from plastic surgery to neurosurgery, urology, orthopaedics, hernia repair, prostate biopsy, and colostomy closures, among others.

It was part of an effort by the Gauteng Department of Health to attempt to clear a massive backlog in surgical operations across the province’s health facilities.

The department calculated that it had a backlog of 32 000 patients waiting in line to undergo surgeries.

As of the evening of July 18, on Mandela’s birthday, 720 elective surgeries were carried out by the 32 facilities.

Stationed at Pretoria’s Steve Biko Academic hospital and engaging the media, Health and Wellness MEC Nomantu Nkomo-Ralehoko said people doubted that the department would reach its target.

“Nobody thought we would be able to achieve this massive task. People doubted us when we said we were going to tackle the surgical backlog, but today we made it and we are going to continue with this backlog,” Nkomo-Ralehoko said.

She conceded that health facilities across the province still had a huge waiting list that needed to be cleared as soon as possible.

“We have people on the waiting list, so we will definitely catch up with the backlog once we deal with those who are on the waiting list,” she said.

She said the task demanded that she communicate with other hospitals about the status of the procedures while stationed at Steve Biko Academic hospital.

The department had set a target of 700 patients, but surpassed that with the 720 procedures.

Nkomo-Ralehoko commended the various teams that worked in the surgical marathon.

“It is a job well done to the whole team. We set ourselves a target and we have been able to surpass that target. This milestone is a clear demonstration of the capacity we have within the Gauteng health-care system.

“The clinicians that were doing surgeries, porters that were assisting us, the cleaners that kept the theatres clean, the nurses and the clerks that were capturing information … this demonstrates what can be achieved when we partner with multiple stakeholders to tackle issues confronting the health-care system.

“The challenge we have set for the team now is replicating this success regularly through a series of marathons until we have eliminated the backlog,” said Nkomo-Ralehoko.

Under this year’s theme, “It is in your hands”, scores of people celebrated Mandela Day by giving back to the community.

Mandela Day is commemorated annually on July 18, and calls for people to devote 67 minutes of their time to positively affecting communities and the lives of people.

This year marked 10 years since the death of the former president. To commemorate his life ,the Nelson Mandela Foundation has themed the 10-year remembrance call to action “The Legacy Lives on Through You”.

Tshwane mayor Cilliers Brink,celebrated the day by planting 67 spekboom plants at the Walter Sisulu Environmental Centre in Mamelodi, and later at Patrico old age home in Hammanskraal, visiting more than 100 elderly people.

Pretoria News