Namibia’s “Miracle Doctor” Helps Restore Eyesight

November 28, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.
1. ophthalmology (n.) [of-thuhl-mol-uh-jee] – the branch of medicine that deals with the eye and its diseases
    Example: She wants to study ophthalmology to treat her mother’s blindness.

2. miracle (n.) [mir-uh-kuhl] – any wonderful or amazing event  
    Example: It is a miracle that many survived the plane crash.
3. hesitant (adj.) [hez-i-tuhnt] – not sure or not decided to do something because of fear or worry
    Example: He was hesitant to ask the girl a question because she looked busy.

4. curable (adj.) [kyoor-uh-buhl] – possible of healing (usually from sickness)
    Example: People in the past suffered from many diseases that are now curable with modern medicine.

5. advocacy (n.) [ad-vuh-kuh-see] – a support for the benefit of something
    Example: The president’s advocacy is to provide jobs for the people in his country.

Read the text below.

Thousands of Namibians suffering from blindness caused by cataract have seen the light through Dr. Helena Ndume, Namibia’s so-called “miracle doctor.”

Dr. Ndume heads the ophthalmology department of Windhoek Central, Namibia’s largest hospital.

Before she became Namibia’s “miracle doctor”, Ndume dreamt of becoming a fashion designer as a teenager. However, at the age of 15, she joined the movement for Namibia’s independence.

While in the movement, she was told by Nahas Angula, Namibia’s current Prime Minister, that as an independent country, Namibia needed doctors and not fashion designers. Thereafter, she was sent to Germany to study medicine. Upon her return in 1989, she was encouraged to focus on ophthalmology.

At first, people were hesitant to undergo eye surgeries. But after Ndume’s first successful operation, everyone started seeking her help.

Cataract is one of the leading causes of blindness in Namibia. According to Ndume, it is unacceptable that many people still suffer from this condition even though it is curable.

Aside from helping Namibians in their daily lives, Ndume conduct eye operations in poor areas where people cannot afford to pay. Her advocacies have inspired international groups like Surgical Eye Expeditions (SEE) and Seeing Without Borders to help restore the eyesight of many Namibians.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.
Discussion A

·         Do you think a doctor should still help a sick person even if the person cannot pay? Explain your answer.
·         Have you ever dreamt of becoming a doctor? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         What would be the effects of choosing to help other people over chasing one’s own dreams?
·         Are you willing to give up your dreams to help other people?

November 28, 2011