Ms Mayanalo Margret Nemutamvuni.
A resident from Tshino village in the Vuwani District is currently waiting at a hospital in Hyderabad in India for a lung transplant. She opted to go there with the hope of being assisted, after waiting for months for such an operation to be done in South Africa.
Muyanalo Margret Nemutamvuni (54) has been on the national waiting list for a double lung transplant since December 2019, but a number of factors have made this procedure impossible. Her condition is getting more critical by the day as she, at this stage, depends on an oxygen tank to help her breathe, and a wheelchair to move.
Margret was diagnosed with lupus interstitial lung disease, pulmonary arterial hypertension and acute reflux in May 2016. She is a former director at the Limpopo Department of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism (LEDET), but was forced to take a health-induced retirement in 2020.
The waiting list for these procedures is endless, as the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town and Netcare Heart Hospital in Johannesburg are the only hospitals in South Africa able to perform these operations. She has also been up against the belief in some African cultures that to donate the organs of a deceased loved one is taboo, which made it difficult to find a donor. When the Covid pandemic hit the world last year, it not only delayed surgical procedures, but also affected the quality of lungs that might otherwise have been usable for transplants.
In a desperate attempt to get help, Margret travelled out of the country. She has been at the Krishna Institute of Medical Science, a private hospital in Hyderabad, India, since May this year, where she spends between R15 000 and R20 000 a month on oxygen tanks. The hospital can perform this double lung transplant, but the cost for the procedure is about R1.5 million, and she still has a shortfall of R200 000.
“I have been listed for a lung transplant here in India, but now the hospital wants full payment before the transplant can take place. My medical aid will not fund the transplant, being outside the country, and my budget for the operation was negatively affected by the oxygen crisis in India,” said Margret from the hospital.
She has now resorted to crowdfunding initiatives, such as the Backabuddy project, to try and raise the necessary funds.
Margret used to be very active at the Unarine Day Care Centre for children with disabilities in Tsianda village, outside Thohoyandou. “I personally feel that I need this surgery due to my commitment to the community. I have 98 children with mental and physical challenges that I have been feeding and providing all necessary things. I need these lungs, so that I continue to help them and others when I return,” she said.
Anyone who wishes to support Margret can visit the Backabuddy link at https://www.backabuddy.co.za/margaret-nemutamvuni.
Date:25 June 2021 - By: Silas Nduvheni