Florence Ramakuela, 52, has broken barriers with one intention — to serve a vulnerable population that cannot afford private eye care services and spectacles, which affects their quality of life and reduces their prospects of employment.
She faced numerous challenges as a provincial optometry coordinator in a profession that was not deemed important at the time.
Under her leadership, the rural province of Limpopo has the highest number of optometrists in South Africa and is the only province with permanently employed optometrists in each hospital. She has advocated for the allocation of bursaries for optometrists, which has contributed to a recruitment strategy to have more young professionals serving in the public eye health sector.
Florence serves the province with pride and dedication. She is not only a leader but also participates in the delivery of service. Florence has provided leadership and introduced district coordinators who facilitate eye care services at the district level.
Citizens of the province are receiving spectacles from various hospitals either for free or at a reasonable cost, depending on the socioeconomic status of each patient.
Florence has been at the forefront of making sure that health facilities can manufacture spectacles in their respective districts to reduce costs.
Through her initiatives, more resources will be invested in providing services in line with what the National Health Insurance scheme advocates for.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
To treat everyone as my own mother.
Our theme this year is Accelerating Equality & Empowerment in Women. How do you empower yourself and women around you?
I share information on all platforms and attend different presentations.
If you could change or achieve one thing for South Africa today, what would it be?
I would ensure resources are distributed according to the need.