- Foundation’s biggest-yet humanitarian expedition
- 200 cataract operations along the Zambezi
- Land Rovers and pontoon boat off into Africa again
PRETORIA, South Africa – Expeditioneer Kingsley Holgate and his ‘Expedition Team’ are now on their biggest humanitarian adventure yet. The goal: to enable doctors to perform 200 cataract operations in the remote Mozambique Zambezi Delta through September 2019.
The occasion, Land Rover SA says, has been timed to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first Land Rover Discovery vehicles’ global debut in September, 1989.
Kingsley and his team have loaded the same two Land Rover Discovery units that were used in Somalia in 2017 and in Kathmandu in 2018 year, along with their trusty Defender 130, with supplies required to navigate the treacherous region in search of needy eye-care recipients.
It’s all part of the latest ‘Vision Mission’ campaign.
The team will also tow its sturdy ‘Ma Robert’ bolt-together inflatable pontoon boat to float the vehicles, one-by-one, across swamps, floodplains and rivers.
The expedition is an extension of the current ‘Mashozi’s Rite to Sight’ campaign launched more than a decade earlier and which has so far delivered more than 200 000 spectacles to people with poor eyesight.
Now, however, not only spectacles will be offered: the scheme has been upgraded to include life-changing cataract operations free of charge.
The Holgate foundation, in partnership with Land Rover and a non-profit Doctors for Life team, will help blind people in the Marromeu, Luabo and Chinde areas. The doctors and the foundation will transport two mobile operating theatres to Marromeu on the Zambezi, along with a team of volunteer doctors and nurses from South Africa and eSwatini.(the renamed Swaziland).
Kingsley’s son and expedition leader Ross Holgate told The Corner via a media release: “We know the Zambezi well so our role will be to provide ground support.
Three Land Rovers and the ‘Ma Robert’ boat will be criss-crossing the Zambezi Delta to maintain our normal anti-malaria programme and Mashozi Rite to Sight spectacles distribution while also assessing patients who need corrective eye surgery.”
World Health Organisation data says 246-million people worldwide are believed to have poor vision – about 90% of them in developing countries.
Holgate jnr added: “The DFL doctors will train our expedition team to identify cataract symptoms then take patients and family members, by water and road, to operating theatres, and take them home after surgery.
“It’s going to be a lot of hard work in difficult conditions with tricky logistics. Just the amount of expedition kit, including the boat and medical equipment being transported 2000km to the delta, is almost unbelievable. The abilities of our tried-and-tested Land Rover Discovery and Defender 130 units will really be tested.”
Today (2019), with more than 70 000km of rough expedition work already on the 4×4’s dometers, Kingsley’s two Discoverys will again tackle tough off-roading – sand, mud, river crossings – to carry patients to operating theatres.