Healing Africa’s broken hearts

first_imgFreedom fighter Albertina Sisulu celebrated her91st birthday and the opening of the Sheika AlJalila House in Johannesburg. (Image: http://www.wspcc.org.za/.) MEDIA CONTACTS • Lee-Ann Poon Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Centre for Africa +27 11 208 5500 RELATED ARTICLES •Zuma: a more prosperous nation •SA heritage comes home •Booster for child health in SA •Mandela’s African tales fight AidsNosimilo Ndlovu Africa’s young hearts celebrated life with freedom fighter Albertina Sisulu, at both her 91st birthday party and the opening of the Sheika Al Jalila House in Johannesburg.Mama Sisulu, as she is affectionately known in South Africa, celebrated her birthday on 21 October with family and young heart patients from poor areas of Africa. These youngsters have received life saving heart operations at the Walter Sisulu Paediatric Cardiac Centre for Africa (WSPCCA) in Sunninghill, north of Johannesburg, where the celebrations were held.WSPCCA, based at Netcare’s Sunninghill Hospital, is a 16-bed paediatric cardiac intensive care unit established in 2003 by Dr Robin Kinsley, head of cardiothoracic surgery at the Netcare Sunninghill Hospital. Kinsley is South Africa’s most experienced paediatric cardiac surgeon.The centre’s highly qualified and experienced paediatric cardiac team carries out corrective surgical and interventional procedures on babies and children – giving hope to thousands of neonates, infants and children who would otherwise not survive.Princess Haya Al Hussein of Jordan, a global patron of the centre, was also there to celebrate with the Sisulu family and to officiate at the opening of the Sheikha Al Jalila House, named after her daughter.Princess Haya and Lungi Sisulu, son of the veteran couple, officially opened the house, which stands across the road from the Netcare Sunninghill Hospital. This facility, the princess’s gift to Mama Sisulu, will accommodate parents of children receiving heart operations at the centre.These families sometimes travel across vast regions of the African continent to seek life-saving medical treatment. In the past, parents stayed in rented accommodation paid for by the WSPCCA.Princess Haya saw the need for a home away from home and donated money to the project, and now parents can stay at the hospital with their children for as long as they like and then simply walk across the road to rest.Freedom stalwartFormer president Nelson Mandela congratulated his long-time friend and fellow ANC stalwart on her 91st birthday.Although Mandela was not able to attend Sisulu’s birthday party, he sent her a personal note in which he praised her achievements. The note was read out by the centre’s president Lungi Sisulu during the celebrations.“Be assured that your role in our country’s struggle for freedom and your impact on so many lives will never be forgotten,” wrote Mandela. “There are very few people in the world as old as we are now – reaching your 91st is a singular achievement and we celebrate with you.”Ongoing legacyAt the funeral of anti-apartheid activist Walter Sisulu in May 2003, Mandela gave a heartfelt speech in which he described Sisulu as a great South African and champion of the youth. Mandela added that such a man needed a true living memory – not a statue, which is a piece of cement, but an ongoing legacy.Dr Kinsley felt that there could be no better way to commemorate Walter Sisulu than by treating the sick children of Africa and sending them back to their countries to fulfil their potential as leaders of tomorrow.He approached the Sisulu family and met with daughter Lindiwe, who toured the facility at a time when 10 babies, each from a different African country, were admitted.The family agreed that it would be very appropriate for the facility to carry Walter Sisulu’s name, and Mama Sisulu expressed the desire that Nelson Mandela open the centre as a tribute to his late friend. On 7 November 2003 the Nobel peace laureate did just that, and has since become the centre’s patron.As a retired nurse Mama Sisulu is extremely supportive and visits the centre regularly. At her request, many of the little patients return for a check-up 6-9 months after their discharge.House of HopeAccording to the WSPCCA, South Africa sees about 5 000 babies born each year with serious holes in their heart walls, defective heart valves or other congenital heart defects.About 95% of these defects can be corrected through surgery. But because of financial constraints and a lack of resources, only about 20% of these children get the surgery they need. The remaining 80% die.In the US, 1 222 patients per million of the population have open-heart surgery. In Africa only 19 people in each million have the benefit of such procedures, with the majority of these operations being performed in South Africa.When measured as cost per added year of life, paediatric cardiac surgery is amongst the most cost-effective forms of medical treatment. Fewer than 30% of South African children and less than 1% of children throughout Africa are able to undergo these life-saving operations. The rest die, despite the fact that 95% of heart defects in babies and young children can be successfully treated.The WSPCCA came into being to address this inequality and to give hope to the cardiac children in both South Africa and Africa at large.last_img read more

Nelson Mandela: a life in service

first_imgSouth Africa’s first black president, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, spent most of his adult life fighting apartheid. He died last night, aged 95, at his Houghton, Johannesburg home, after enduring a prolonged lung infection.The former Nobel Peace Prize Laureate’s death has brought the country to a standstill with many condolences still pouring in from world leaders, celebrities, and ordinary South Africans.Brand South Africa chairperson, Chichi Maponya, expressed deep sorrow at his passing saying, “Madiba embodied our hopes and the realisation of our dreams.“We are in deep mourning following this loss of indescribable magnitude which is today reverberating across the world. During his imprisonment for 27 years, Madiba carried the aspirations of multitudes of our people who yearned for a free and democratic South Africa.”He added that Mandela had inspired South Africans and people around the world to fight for South Africa’s liberation, despite the seeming impossibility of this vision.“One of the greatest gifts he has bequeathed to this nation is the courage and strength to believe in a tomorrow that is better than today, a tomorrow in which our people live in dignity and prosperity,” he said.Many South Africans who were devastated by the news of Mandela’s death took to the nation’s streets in a show of mourning last night. Some gathered at Mr Mandela’s home in Houghton to light candles and celebrated his achievements. Others congregated outside Mandela’s former home on Soweto’s Vilakazi Street.United States President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron were among world leaders and dignitaries who paid fulsome tribute to Mandela as a moral giant and a beacon for the oppressed.27 YEARS A PRISONERLet us draw from Nelson Mandela’s wisdom. Let us be inspired. Let each and every one of us continue to walk forward into the future as he didMandela spent 27 years in jail for his attempts to overthrow the country’s white-minority government before being freed in 1990. He led the African National Congress (ANC) liberation organisation in negotiations with the National Party to secure South Africa’s first inclusive election in 1994.Born into the royal Tembu family in July 1918 in the village of Qunu, in Umtata in the south eastern Transkei, Mandela rose from relative rural obscurity to challenge the apartheid government.He became commander-in-chief of the ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), in 1961 and underwent military training in Algeria and Ethiopia the following year.While underground back home in South Africa, Mandela was captured by police in 1962 and sentenced to five years in prison for inciting workers to strike, and leaving the country illegally.In 1963 he was charged with sabotage and sentenced in 1964 to life in prison at the infamous Rivonia Trial with a number of other ANC members.He became South Africa’s first black president in 1994 and, after just a single term in office, stepped down as president in 1999.In retirement, Mandela focused his energy on his new role as a roving elder statesman and leading HIV/Aids campaigner before retiring from public life in 2004.His last major public appearance was in July 2010, at the final of the Fifa World Cup at the FNB Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg.Mandela is survived by his third wife, Graça Machel, three children, 17 grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren, and four step-children from his marriage to Machel.last_img read more

IT Poll: Which Mobile OS Will Be Most Popular in the Enterprise Five Years from Now?

first_imgThe days of enterprises choosing one smartphone vendor appear to be ending. Forrester reported last year that 60% of enterprises support employee-owned smartphones, and mixed environments are becoming the norm.BlackBerry was still the most popular enterprise smartphone operating system as of Forrester’s Q1 2010 survey. According to Good Technology’s numbers, iOS is growing the fastest by far. But with more enterprise tools for Android on the market – including new tools recently released by Zenprise and the forthcoming offerings from Motorola and SAP – Android is poised for strong growth.In the dark horse category are Windows Phone 7 and WebOS. But both got boosts last week, with the Nokia/Microsoft partnership and the new WebOS-based TouchPad tablet.Which OS do you think will be most popular five years down the road? Photo by Shereen M Tags:#enterprise#mobile Cognitive Automation is the Immediate Future of… Massive Non-Desk Workforce is an Opportunity fo… 3 Areas of Your Business that Need Tech Now klint finley Related Posts IT + Project Management: A Love Affairlast_img read more

We will target Indian openers, says Shahid Afridi

first_imgPakistan captain Shahid Afridi on Monday said his statement that his team is aiming to make the Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar wait for his 100th international century, had been given a negative bend by the Indian media.”No one doubts the greatness of Tendulkar. But if someone asks me about him and the semi-final clash against India, obviously I will not say we will allow him to make runs,” said Afridi.”I will say we will try to stop him from scoring runs. There are instances where Sachin has scored a century and India has lost the match,” he added.Pakistan are all set to clash against India in the high-voltage semifinal in Mohali on Wednesday and it seems that the mind games are on.Earlier, Afridi had reportedly said, “He (Tendulkar) will have to wait until after the World Cup to reach the landmark. We will try and make sure no batsman plays a long innings (in the semi-final at Mohali).”Afridi further slammed the Indian media for spreading negativity surrounding his team and the high-profile match itself.”There is lot of negativity in the Indian media. We are not in India for any war but to play cricket. All this negativity is very disappointing,” Afridi told Geo news channel from Mohali.He said that the only way the Pakistan team could respond to the negative campaign in the Indian media was by performing well on the field.”We will try to give our 110 percent in this big match. But we will just do our best whatever the result. After the match we just want to be content in our hearts that we gave our best,” he said.advertisementSpeaking on his team’s strategy against India in the semifinal, Afridi said the basic strategy will be to target the Indian openers – Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar – and not give them room to play their shots.”We will finalise our strategy tomorrow but these are quality players and you can’t allow them room in such a big match.” .Expressing his apprehensions about the dew factor at the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) Stadium, the captain said, “Yes there is plenty of dew here in the evening but they are using chemicals to fight it and hopefully it will not be that bad but in such circumstances the toss becomes important for both teams.”Responding to the growing clamour for the inclusion of retiring fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar for the crucial game, Afridi confirmed that the touring team management was seriously considering playing him on Wednesday.”Yes, we would like him to play but we first have to check his match fitness and form. We will watch him in the nets. We don’t want him to just bowl four or five overs but his full quota of overs,” said Afridi.Shoaib has been ignored for Pakistan’s last three matches in the tournament but Afridi said the management would watch the paceman in the nets on Tuesday and then take a decision on his inclusion.The 35-year-old speedster, who will retire after the World Cup, has not played since a reported bust up with wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal after the match against New Zealand that Pakistan lost and for which Shoaib was fined USD 2000 by the management on disciplinary grounds.Afridi said he was disappointed by the remarks made by Pakistan’s interior minister Rehman Malik about the government keeping a close watch on the players in the semifinal because of the spot-fixing scandal.”I don’t think he should have said such a thing at such a time.”Afridi said he and his players were just keeping themselves restricted to the hotel and ground because of the security issues.”We are spending a lot of time together in the hotel and gelling together and preparing for the big match because the pressure and expectations on us are very high.”But the good thing is the boys are relaxed and smiling and looking forward to the match,” said Afridi.– With PTI inputslast_img read more