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CANSA Attends Launch of Oncology Services at Rob Ferreira Hospital

27 August 2019 – Today, marked a historic day for the Mpumalanga Department of Health when MEC for the Department, Sasekani Manzini officially launched Oncology services at Rob Ferreira Hospital situated in Mbombela. The purpose for launching the services is to provide safe cancer care within the province and improve quality of care. CANSA Mpumalanga was invited to the launch and Mandisa Mthembu said a few words on behalf of CANSA at the official opening of a new oncology unit at the Rob Ferreira hospital.

The Mpumalanga Department of Health identified a need for an oncology treatment centre offering chemotherapy services within Rob Ferreira hospital which is one of the two tertiary hospitals in the province. The launch marked the beginning of a new era for the majority of cancer patients who used to travel long distance to Steve Biko Academic hospital in Gauteng which is more than 300 km away.

When giving her keynote address MEC Manzini said “With the launch of oncology services, we have partnered with Wits University and we hope to transform the future of patients in Mpumalanga. Working together with a dedicated teams of oncologists and other key partners like Bristol- Myers Squibb, CANSA and Right to Care, we will drive the change that the community needs in terms of cancer care through continual learning, creative thinking and collective desire to positively impact the lives of every person touched by cancer”

MEC further said “It is of utmost importance for the province to start establishing sub-specialty services in the province in order to minimise the province’s dependency on Gauteng province as this further retards the province’s ability to carry its mandate to provide comprehensive services to the people of Mpumalanga. Currently patients who need oncology services are referred to various hospitals outside the province at great expense and inconvenience to the patient and families.

Our plan is to provide more of this service to other hospitals. A fully equipped Oncology Unit will be incorporated in the Business Case for the New Tertiary Hospital in Witbank, which will be able to provide a full package of oncology services including in-house radiation therapy for the province” said MEC Manzini.

Elize Joubert, CANSA CEO, said, “CANSA is delighted to receive the news of the opening of the long needed oncology treatment centre at Rob Ferreira Hospital. Through CANSA’s well established care and support services to cancer patients in Mpumalanga, we are very aware of the burdening impact on the patient and his / her family of having to go to oncology treatment centres far away from them in other provinces. This new centre, which makes treatment so much more accessible to them and brings great relief to our patients and their families during the oncology treatment phases, will contribute greatly to reduce cancer mortality and morbidity in Mpumalanga. On behalf of CANSA I firstly wish to extend our sincere gratitude for this development in cancer treatment for Mpumalanga patients and also extend our best wishes for success with this new service. We are fully committed to collaborate with and support the services of this new centre in every way possible to benefit cancer patients, their loved ones and all others affected by cancer. Together we can achieve so much more.”

Dr Nokwanda Zuma, an Oncologist at Rob Ferreira hospital explained how the Oncology services are offered at the hospital. “The Day Ward is temporarily utilised for the Oncology patients pending the renovations of the Old Rehab Centre that will become the Oncology Ward with a capacity of 12 beds for inpatients.

The Laminar Flow Machine (2007), the machine used for mixing the chemotherapy drugs was serviced in May 2019. A number of medical equipment for the oncology unit has been procured and some delivered in July 2019 and a few more awaiting delivery.

A data base for the cancer patients has been developed to establish a baseline and inpatients with suspected cancer have been referred to the Oncology unit for assessment. The oncology services are currently provided in the Day Ward, a total of (6) six beds are allocated, 2 males, 2 females and 2 children and for Outpatient there are six recliner beds” explained Dr Zuma.

The MEC and the team from Wits university together with various stakeholders toured the Oncology ward and spoke to some patients. Mpho Shisane (not her real name) expressed excitement in recieving the services at Rob Ferreira, ” I am very happy that I am one of the first patients to receive the service. I am a bit nervous because I have never underwent chemotherapy but I believe everything is going to go well.”

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