Students start trust for patients

2014-08-27 00:00

THREE medical students from the University of KwaZuluNatal are leading the way in securing access to potentially lifesaving procedures for patients.

Bonginkosi Mafuze (21), Yusuf Khatib (21) and Rachel Wilson (26) have founded the Yunibo Health Trust, for people who would otherwise “fall through the cracks of the South African healthcare system”.

The Yunibo Health Trust was registered as a non-profit organisation in early August by the passionate trio, who are trying to supply quality healthcare to people who could otherwise not afford it.

“The trust is inspired by an Indian philanthropist and cardiac surgeon, Dr Devi Shetty, who started a healthcare system similar to this in India,” said Mafuze, who is currently in his fourth year of study.

The students are enrolled at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at UKZN.

The first patient to benefit from the trust was 22-year-old Gabriella Grobbelaar from Pine­town, who walked out of hospital healthy after being diagnosed with a hole in her heart. Because she has no medical aid, being operated on in a private hospital would not have been possible without the trust.

“We approached the general manager of the hospital, Niresh Bechan, who helped set up the necessary surgical team to operate on Gabby through its corporate social responsibility programme,” said Mafuze.

“We could not believe that she was around our age and was unable to live carefree like most of us,” said Wilson, who is in her third year. Now the trio have launched an initiative within the campaign called “Doctors Who Care”, in terms of which they appeal to doctors nationally to contribute at least R50 a month towards helping patients.

“We are committed to healing and devoted to caring,” said Mafuze.

The group hope to try and help as many people as possible by approaching private hospitals and medical personnel at these facilities to come to their aid.

The trio can be contacted at bmafuze@yunibohealth.co.za; ykhatib@yunibohealth.co.za or 206514234@stu.ukzn.ac.za.

• raisa.soodyal@witness.co.za

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