Tshemba Foundation is a non-profit medical organisation that was started in 2017 out of a concern for the lack of doctors in Mpumalanga. Since then the foundation has provided volunteer doctors, many of whom specialise in various fields to the hospital and clinics in the community of Bushbuckridge.
Now, CEO Barbara McGorian calls on Free State doctors to serve as volunteers in the area after the Covid-19 pandemic has further caused a shortage in valuable medical skills. “We call on doctors from all over the world but because of Covid-19 and the current travel restrictions, we can only hope to get doctors from overseas in 2021. This is despite Mpumalanga being a very low risk area, so we want to recruit doctors from other low risk areas such as the Free State to come and help,” she explained.
Tshemba Foundation provides much needed specialist skills that the community would otherwise be in dire need of. Since it has been established, they have helped to treat patients with both unique medical issues like a cleft palate to the most taken- for-granted, such as the removal of tonsils.
“We have been able to provide specialist skills in the areas of diabetes, which is common in the area. We have brought EMTs, surgeons and are currently working with the Smile Foundation to fix cleft palates in children. The foundation also assisted in the first tonsillectomy to take place at Tintswalo Hospital,” said McGorian.
Many of the needed skills can make a difference in the quality of life of patients, including the removal of cataracts. “We started a cataract clinic in an unused ward of the hospital and gave it state-of-the-art equipment. Cataracts can be a big burden on patients and their families but by doing a quick operation, those people can immediately see. It completely changes their lives,” explained the CEO.
Volunteer doctors are attached to both Tintswalo Hospital and Thlokomela Clinic where they are involved in other community outreach programmes. They are also accommodated free of charge at a five-star lodge set in a beautiful game reserve not far from the Kruger National Park.
For an opportunity to volunteer, call Lexi on 082 825 3063 or email lexi@ tshembafoundation.org. For more information on the organisation, visit tshembafoundation.org