Dr Thubelihle Ngubane


Nominee's Province:

Project Name/Description:
Guga Kahle NPC

More info:

Seeing her mom losing her memory and communication ability 15 years ago was unbearable for Dr Thubelihle Ngubane, 43, a Johannesburg-based medical doctor from Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal. The situation got worse in 2015 after Ngubane’s father had died, when her mom, then 69 years, was officially diagnosed with dementia after a battery of tests. Early this year, she and two co-directors established Guga Kahle, a self-funded non-profit company (NPC) to promote “healthy ageing” and to educate young and old about dementia. To this end, Ngubane penned a 54-page Zulu book on dementia, titled Ukuwohloka Komqondo, which has sold 700 copies so far and is due to be translated into other indigenous South African languages as well as English.  Guga Kahle also seeks to dismantle the myth that black people are immune to dementia in an attempt to put to an end the gruesome killing of persons living with this condition, who are often accused of practising witchcraft when they are found wandering at night not knowing where they are or what they are doing. Ngubane has challenged the government to make dementia a public health priority and to implement policies to reduce prices of drugs to manage the syndrome, and to force medical aid schemes to cover them. “South Africa has over 5.5-million people over the age of 60. Dementia care is very costly … families taking care of one of their members living with dementia are often left destitute,” she says. Ngubane holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine and is an anaesthesiologist (specialist anaesthetist).

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