Helena Ndume

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Dr. Helena Ndaipovanhu Ndume is a Namibian ophthalmologist, notable for her charitable work among sufferers of eye-related illnesses in Namibia. To date, Dr. Ndume has ensured that some 30,000 blind Namibians have received eye surgery and are fitted with intra-ocular lens implants free of charge.[1] She is currently the head of the Ophthalmology department at Windhoek Central Hospital, Namibia’s largest hospital,[2] and is one of only six Namibian ophthalmologists.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Helena Ndume was born in Tsumeb, Oshikoto Region. She studied medicine in Germany, before returning to Namibia in 1989 to complete a medical internship. She later returned to Germany, to specialise in ophthalmology at the University of Leipzig.[4]

She is married, and has one son.[4]

Work in Namibia[edit]

In 1995, Dr Ndume was introduced to Surgical Eye Expeditions International, and set about starting a project in Namibia. In August 1997, the first eye camp was held at Rundu, Kavango Region. Currently, four or five eye camps are held each year in different locations.[4]

Work with the Namibia Red Cross Society[edit]

For six years, from 2001 to 2007, Dr Ndume was vice chairperson of the Namibia Red Cross Society.[5] In 2009, Dr Ndume was honoured with a humanitarian award by the NRCS for her work in restoring sight to those blinded by cataracts.[3]

Work with SEE International[edit]

Dr. Ndume has volunteered with sight-restoring nonprofit SEE International since 1995. Since then, SEE and Dr. Ndume have collaborated to hold free week-long eye clinics in Namibia, typically twice every year. These clinics provide free eye surgeries for approximately 300 impoverished men, women, and children.[6]

International Recognition and Awards[edit]

  • Dr. Helena Ndume and Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio of Portugal, became the first recipients of the United Nations Nelson Mandela Prize on 22 June 2015. [7]
  • Grand Commander of the Order of Namibia First Class;
  • Red Cross International Humanitarian Service Award (2009);
  • Rotary International Humanitarian Award in the fight against blindness (2008);
  • Namibia National Science Award (2005);
  • Humanitarian award in the prevention of blindness in Santa Barbara, California, USA (2001);
  • Lions International Award in recognition of sincere and devoted efforts with Lions Operation Brightsight Project (1999).[8]


  1. ^ Ikela, Selma (22 March 2011). "For those that have made the country proud". Namibian Sun. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  2. ^ McCarthy, Diane (11 September 2011). "Namibia's 'miracle doctor' brings gift of sight". Cable News Network. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  3. ^ a b Iipinge, Saara (March 2010). "NRCS honours a remarkable humanitarian" (PDF). NRCS Newsletter. Namibia Red Cross Society. p. 5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 September 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  4. ^ a b c SHEJAVALI, NANGULA (7 October 2009). "Helena Ndume – 'miracle doctor' restoring eyesight". The Namibian. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  5. ^ "The Namibia Red Cross Society shows "way forward" at 2007 AGM" (PDF). NRCS Newsletter. Namibia Red Cross Society. September 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 August 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  6. ^ "SEE International - Namibia". SEE International.
  7. ^ https://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51221#.VYqQWShiEXE
  8. ^ https://www.un.org/pga/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2015/07/CV-Helena-Ndume.pdf