The world just became a bit brighter for more than 40 patients after the final round of cataract operations sponsored by mobile community platform Palringo were conducted at Leratong Hospital earlier this month.

On Saturday 15 July 2017, the surgeries were implemented by Islamic Relief South Africa, are meant to restore temporary blindness. A cataract is the opacity (milkiness) of the eye lens that develops over age, which causes temporary blindness, but is reversible through surgery. 

In South Africa, where the social economic divide remains one of the highest in the world, cataract blindness compounds burdens in poor communities. In this country, there are more than 23,000 patients waiting for cataract surgeries. The high cost of the medical treatment ranges between R12,000 and R20, 000 per operation, leaving a large number of needy persons without immediate recourse.

The programme is an ongoing initiative of the Islamic Medical Association (IMA) in partnership with Gauteng Department of Health,  administered by a team of doctors and volunteers over weekends. 

Together with previous operations during April, a total of 156 persons benefitted from the funding by Palringo, which was made available via Islamic Relief.

Shabbir Hussain, the doctor and project manager for operations at Leratong, thanked all donors, and especially hospital nurses and doctors for their valuable time, facilities and expertise. 

“Additional sponsorship from private and corporate donors amounted to more than R50 million in 2017 alone.  All of these surgeries were done free of any cost to patients, and our team is highly committed to helping people see again. We are striving towards the achievement of Vision 20/20, the right to sight!” says Dr Hussain.

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