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   In The Media : First Heart Patient

Projects and initiatives completed or supported by the MMCT in the past.

FIRST HEART PATIENT: PRINCE SINVULA MAJAKUBE

Date born: 29 May 1994
†: 12 December 2009

Baby Sinvula was born with a serious heart defect (only one heart ventricle and a narrow aorta) and spent 52 days at the Windhoek Central Hospital’s ICU before being flown to South Africa for an operation. Dr Andreas Oberholzer, superintendent, assesses before the baby could be operated on. The operation was made possible by a donation of N$25 000.00 from the public. The Michelle McLean Children Trust was approached by the father to co-ordinate and manage the project, which would establish a general fund which could be used to help in similar cases. (The Namibian, Thursday, 11 August 1994)

Teamwork and coordination between concern Namibians, South Africans and non governmental organizations made it possible for baby Sinvula to be operated within days to undergo such a complicated operation in Cape Town. The Air Mercy Service Ambulance Jet from the SA Red Cross landed on 9 August 1994 on the Eros Air Port in Windhoek Namibia. With this lifesaving effort, on mercy flight, which for the first time in Namibia, was made available by Red Cross SA. Baby Sinvula could be operated on 11 August 1994. The first stage on this operation was a success at the Groote Schuur hospital. (Jaargang 17 N0 171 -10 August 1994).


Although the costs involved in the operation exceeded the money collected, the hospital allowed the operation to go ahead. The doctors involved in the operation also offered their services free of charge.

The heart of a child fund was established on the sole purpose to help children born with heart defects. The “seed was sown” with six week old Baby Sinvula. His parents live in a rural area, Ngwezy, Katima Mulilo, 1500 km from the capital Windhoek. His parents approach the Government for financial assistance but to no avail, because there are no funds available in such rare cases.

Various discussions have been held with different parties to solicit support for this much needed project. One meeting was held in South Africa to obtain the support of the South African Doctors, the private sector and world known Prof. Chris Barnard. The other necessary meeting was held in Windhoek in February 1998 to gain support of the Namibian Government, the Founding President, Dr Sam Nujoma, the Ministry of Health and Social Services, the private sector as well as medical doctors in Namibia. This project was launched on 13 August 1998, with the highlight of a fund-raising campaign in August at a Medical Symposium in Windhoek, Namibia.

Prince Sinvula undergoes a follow-up visit to the Surgeon when he was three years old. During 2001 he had to undergo a second operation. He also had to undergo a thorough medical check-up when he was nine years old. This time the Namibian Government was able to cover at least 95 % of all medical costs that was anticipated. The MMCT again could assist with air transport to and from Cape Town for mother and boy as well as the remaining five percent of the medical cost.

Prince Sinvula Majakube did have a normal school boy life. He was at the Mavuluma Primary School and furthers his schooling in Katima Mulilo. He visited the MMCT for assistance during September 2009 for a medical check-up and the MMCT could assist him with transport, meals and accommodation in Windhoek. He has an older brother Lubasi (now 20) and a younger sister Simbulu (now 6).

In September 2009, Sinvula was examined at the Windhoek Central Hospital and doctors proposed that the boy still requires undergoing a third heart operation in Cape Town as soon as possible. Sinvula was booked at the Katutura Hospital, 21 October 2009, and on Wednesday the following week, 28 October 2009, would finally leave for Cape Town by road for the operation. Unfortunately they were unable to generate enough funds and he had to leave for his home town, Ngweze in Katima Mulilo, hoping to raise funds to give him yet another chance in life

Tragically, he passed away on 12 December 2009 from a congenital heart disease. He left behind both his parents Sylvester and Judith, his brother Lunasi and sister Simbulu. The MMCT once again stood by the Majakube family and paid for all funeral arrangements in respect for the courage that this young boy (15) demonstrate.

Since Prince Sinvula Majakube first operation (1994), the Michelle McLean Children Trust assisted more than 25 young heart patients.

Updated: 2010-09-16


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