The first dedicated private haematology unit in Johannesburg for the diagnoses and treatment of the full range of acute and chronic blood cancers and other blood conditions in adults, have been opened at the Netcare Olivedale Hospital in Randburg.
“The development of this unit fulfils the critical need for a dedicated, purpose-developed facility such as this within the area,” Managing Director of the Netcare Hospital division, Jacques du Plessis said.
“This is in line with international trends in haematology medicine which recognises that many patients with blood disorders greatly benefit from individualised management and care by a multi-disciplinary team at a properly equipped unit.”
Haematologist, Dr Karen Gunther who heads the unit, agreed and said that she and her two haematologist partners, Dr Lucille Singh and Dr Philippa Ashmore, are “tremendously excited” to be introducing the new service and to be involved in the development of the new facility.
“Many blood diseases, some of which would have been terminal 20 years ago, can today be cured or successfully managed with the new innovative therapies available,” Gunther said.
“Centres around the world are able to achieve more accurate diagnoses and optimise treatment of haematological disorders, by using a range of treatment modalities including new drugs, stem cell transplantation, targeted treatments, immunotherapy and other treatment options,” she said
“There are currently dedicated Netcare haematology units at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal, UCT Private Academic and Netcare Kuils River hospitals in the Western Cape, Netcare Pretoria East, and a bone marrow unit at Netcare Garden City Hospital in Johannesburg, but there has been a great need for a new highly specialised facility to serve patients in our area.
“Our haematology practice is therefore most grateful to Netcare and Netcare Olivedale Hospital for their commitment to developing this important new facility, and for training the necessary nursing and support staff,” she said.
The unit is said to offer cutting edge hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, which is used in the treatment of various cancers including leukaemia, multiple myeloma, some lymphomas, blood and bone marrow disorders and diseases of the immune system.
Stem cell harvesting is being done in collaboration with the South African National Blood Service (SANBS).
“In addition to malignant conditions affecting the blood, the team at the facility will also diagnose and treat all blood clotting/thrombotic disorders, as well as bleeding disorders and diseases associated with low blood counts such as anaemia,” Gunther said
“The unit will include state-of-the-art isolation rooms, which are especially designed to protect patients undergoing bone marrow transplantation, who require the most stringent levels of infection control.”
“We at Netcare and the specialist haematology team share a common aim, namely to develop the unit into the foremost private referral care facility where we will also be able to extend our service to haematology patients from other regions where such dedicated and specialised facilities and services are not available,” Du Plessis said.
Gunther said that the specialist team’s skills will complement one another.
“Netcare has identified a tremendous need for this new haematology unit within the Johannesburg region,” noted Netcare Olivedale Hospital general manager, Linda Bhagaloo.
“We are consequently delighted to now be able to offer our patients access to the very latest medical care available within this field of medicine.”
– African News Agency (ANA)