South Africa News

GP whittles down waiting list with cataract surgery marathon

Public hospitals across Gauteng embarked on a cataract surgery marathon for the entire month of October.

The surgery marathon was meant to address the long waiting list of cataract surgeries at Gauteng hospitals.

“This cataract surgery marathon campaign has seen different hospitals perform several operations to reduce the waiting times for patients,” said the provincial health department.

A cataract is a cloudiness of the eye’s lens, which occurs in many people as they grow older. This can also happen in younger people due to diseases. Cataract surgery is performed to remove the lens of the eye, which affects vision.

Kalafong Tertiary Hospital in Pretoria West is among the province’s best performing hospitals, undertaking 205 cataract surgeries in two weeks.

The Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital and St John’s Eye Hospital performed 132 and 124 operations respectively.

In the West Rand, Leratong Hospital performed 105 operations. Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital undertook 94 and Helen Joseph Hospital performed 64 operations for October.

Other hospitals will conduct their cataract marathon surgeries in November.

The waiting list grows
Last month, Gauteng health MEC Nomathemba Mokgethi said at least 205 Steve Biko Academic Hospital patients had been waiting for surgeries since 2010.

Mokgethi said the orthopaedics department had the most number of patients waiting for surgery.

The 205 patients are on the waiting list at the Tshwane-based hospital for maxillo-facial surgeries, such as repairing cleft palates.

At least 638 patients waiting for hip, knee, spinal or feet operations may only go under the knife in about two years. Even worse, some 385 children are on the surgery waiting list.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has considerably affected public hospitals’ ability to perform elective surgeries due to resources being repurposed to fight the pandemic.

“With the drop in the rate of new Covid-19 infection cases and hospital admissions, public hospitals can dedicate resources to other healthcare services,” said the Department.

-The Citizen

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