The Engcongwane School in Emcitsheni is located in a rural area 25km outside Ladysmith. The school was the venue for the on-going Islamic Medical Association’s Health Day programme which is held in conjunction with the Department of Health, Operation Sukuma Sakhe, Al-Imdaad Foundation and Ladysmith Caregivers.
The well kept and well maintained school provided a perfect venue in the rural setting where over 200 patients were seen. Many of these patients have limited access to health care. Services provided on that day included medical screening in terms of hypertension, diabetes and assessment by the team leader Dr Mohamed Bayat. Interestingly two unknown diabetic patients were diagnosed which sugars well over 20mmol/ℓ. Arrangements were then made after initial control at the makeshift venue for transfer to the local Provincial Hospital by ambulance.
Due to the scarcity of adequate dental care, the oral hygiene nurse, Thuli Makhathini, educated the patients with regard to adequate dental care and dental packs were then given. Those with rotten teeth, where there was no hope of restoration, had their extractions done with much relief of pain.
The optometry service proved once again most popular and the smile on the patients’ faces, whose vision was improved by provision of simple spectacles, was heart-warming. However the problem of cataracts once again manifested and in the state sector there is a massive waiting list for this.
The Islamic Medical Association would like to extend their sincere thanks to Mr Simon Gumede and Mr Soojat Khan for coordinating the programme. In addition a multitude of thanks needs to be given to the school Principal and his staff for allowing us use of the venue. The Al-Imdaad Foundation, ably led by Ahmed Shazi and Ahmed Karrim, was once again up to the task and provided much relief in terms of health packs and walking aids for those that needed them. The learners from the Islamic Educational Centre provided water for patients in waiting. To all the volunteers, both medical and non-medical, who helped on the day, may you be abundantly rewarded for your sacrifice in providing health to those in desperate need.