Looking to care for the visually impaired

The Life Healthcare Group has a committed corporate social investment strategy (CSI) that is focused on social upliftment community development. The company started the Life Healthcare Foundation in 2007 as a way of channelling the group’s CSI initiatives towards programmes that are relevant. One of these initiatives is the Life Healthcare Cataract Outreach programme that has been running since 2006, bringing critical eyecare services to patients in peri-urban and rural areas.

“We have had an ongoing relationship with the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) since 2006 when we started to sponsor our mobile eye care clinics,” says Ansuyiah Padayachee, the manager of community and external affairs. “These mobile clinics are fully fitted with mobile ophthalmology equipment that’s designed to bring much needed eye care services, especially cataract surgery and low-vision testing, to rural and peri-urban areas.”

The long patient backlogs in these areas means that the mobile clinics have filled a much-needed gap and helped numerous patients overcome debilitating eye conditions. To date, the clinics have managed 55 000 screenings, detected 1 672 glaucoma, which resulted in 9 000 medical referrals, issued 14 000 pairs of spectacles, and undertaken 15 000 cataract surgeries. To further the good work and to ensure even more patients receive this critical care, the Life Healthcare Group sponsored a third fully-fitted mobile clinic in August 2018.

“We also donated R12-million towards the training of visually impaired people at SANCB’s Optima College,” adds Padayachee. “The college provides vocational and life skills training, accredited by the services Seta at a NQF Level 2, for 120 visually impaired students a year. The goal is to empower visually impaired youth by giving them the technical skills they need to enhance their job seeking opportunities.”

The courses on offer from Optima College include: introduction to computers, contact centre and support, business administration services, and Braille literacy. Students receive a monthly stipend for the duration of the course and, included in the donation from Life Health, is provision for board and lodging for about 60 students who come in from outside Gauteng.

“The strong relationship with SANCB and the mobile clinics and the college are all closely aligned to our CSI principles and goals,” says Padayachee. “The mobile clinics have reached areas that have remain under serviced and they are changing lives, every day.”

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

‘Frustrated’ police resort to force

Regulation uncertainty leaves slap-happy police and soldiers to decide when people should or shouldn’t be allowed on the streets

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders