Namibia’s Miracle Doctor
Commonwealth Point of Light 73. Helen Ndume
Dr Helena Ndume, representing Namibia, is an internationally renowned ophthalmologist who has performed life changing sight-restoring surgery to over 35,000 Namibians completely free of charge.
Nicknamed the ‘The Miracle Doctor’ by grateful former patients, Dr Ndume runs the country’s only referral eye clinic in Windhoek Central Hospital. In 1995 she joined ‘Surgical Eye Expeditions International’ and has since then dedicated her life and career to treating blindness and low-vision, both in Namibia and internationally. Dr Ndume has been recognised with a Red Cross International Humanitarian Service Award and in 2015 became the first ever recipient of the United Nations Nelson Mandela Prize.
Dr Ndume was presented with her award by UK High Commissioner in Namibia, Kate Airey OBE.
Kate Airey, UK High Commissioner in Namibia, said:
“It is a honour and a privilege to hand over this award from Her Majesty The Queen to Dr Ndume today. Helen, and the whole team at the eye clinic in Windhoek, put people first – volunteering and travelling huge distances to ensure people get access to the treatment they need. I hope that the Points of Light award not only highlights the work of a remarkable woman and her team, but also shines a light on the need for continued international support to eliminate preventable blindness from sub-Saharan Africa.”
Dr Helen Ndume said:
“I can’t thank Her Majesty The Queen enough. This award comes at a time when equipment and medication is sorely needed to treat preventable blindness in Namibia, especially as Government finances are so tight. I hope this raises the awareness of preventable blindness across the Commonwealth – a £10 operation lasting just 15 minutes can make such a difference. It can help people see their grandchildren, it can help them plough their fields and feed their families. This award should not be about me, but about the positive difference the whole eye-clinic team make to peoples’ lives in this fight against preventable blindness.”