Ngwelezana Hospital in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal, has opened an oncology clinic that is geared to provide full treatment and care to cancer patients locally, reports the Zululand Observer.
Patients will no longer have to wait months on long waiting lists or travel many kilometres to Durban for cancer treatment, the hospital’s acting CEO, Dr Bright Madlala, announced last week.
“An important leap forward has been taken by Ngwelezana Hospital together with private partners Joint Medical Holding (JMH) and the Empangeni Cancer Association in initiating oncology services within the region,” Madlala said.
In-hospital services include chemotherapy, while patients requiring radiotherapy will be referred to the Richards Bay Medical Institute (RBMI).
Ngwelezana Hospital had previously been running a small oncology clinic which diagnosed and referred patients to Durban’s Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) or Addington Hospital for chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
“This meant patients had to travel for hours, especially those coming from as far afield as Manguzi, to receive appropriate treatment and care,” Madlala said.
The new clinic, which will run on alternate Wednesdays, is envisaged to “reduce patient waiting lists to less than a month within the next six months”, Madlala added.
Lower Umfolozi Regional War Memorial Hospital also recently opened an oncology clinic that deals with cancers affecting children and gynaecological cancers affecting women.
The oncology clinics are part of a response to the ongoing call for improved oncology services in the province.
Last month, the South African Human Rights Commission found that the KwaZulu-Natal department of health failed to provide access to adequate oncology services and also “violated rights to human dignity and life of affected patients”.
– Caxton News Service