ON­COL­OGY SER­VICES ON THE RIGHT TRACK

Public Sector Manager - - Youth Special -

The Free State Depart­ment of On­col­ogy is cel­e­brat­ing 51 years of pro­vid­ing qual­ity care to the most vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple in our so­ci­ety. There are var­i­ous units within the On­col­ogy Bas­ket of Ser­vices such as the clin­ics, the Re­search Unit, Ra­di­a­tion Unit and the Chemo­ther­apy Unit which serves more than 170 pa­tients daily.

The ra­di­a­tion treat­ment of can­cer is pro­vided to pa­tients from var­i­ous towns of the Free State Prov­ince, as well as parts of the North­ern Cape, Eastern Cape and Le­sotho. The ser­vice also has ded­i­cated out­reach in out­ly­ing health fa­cil­i­ties such as Bon­gani Hos­pi­tal in Welkom, Boi­tumelo Hos­pi­tal in Kroon­stad and Dih­labeng Hos­pi­tal in Bethlehem ev­ery month.

The On­col­ogy Ser­vices in the Free State Prov­ince are cen­tralised at the Univer­si­tas Aca­demic Hos­pi­tal, while the ac­tual ser­vices are phys­i­cally lo­cated at Na­tional Hos­pi­tal be­cause, due to its del­i­cate na­ture and sen­si­tiv­ity, the ra­di­a­tion in­fra­struc­ture can­not be moved to any other site.

The On­col­ogy Ser­vices are re­spon­sive to a rel­a­tively high bur­den of dis­eases in the var­i­ous cat­e­gories of can­cers, in­clud­ing:

• Cer­vi­cal can­cer for women (about 400 cases per year) • Breast can­cer (350 cases per year)

• Head and neck can­cers (about 100 cases per year) • Prostate can­cers (ap­prox­i­mately 250 new pa­tients

an­nu­ally)

The prov­ince ser­vices a catch­ment pop­u­la­tion of about 7 mil­lion pa­tients and it re­quires in­fra­struc­ture and equip­ment in or­der to re­spond ad­e­quately.

On­col­ogy Ser­vices are well-de­vel­oped to make ac­cu­rate di­ag­noses and prog­noses like the Nu­clear Medicine sec­tion and the hy­per­baric cham­ber (oxy­gen tank) which is the only one of its kind in cen­tral South Africa.

The hy­per­baric cham­ber is used to treat a va­ri­ety of con­di­tions, for ex­am­ple: ra­di­a­tion- in­duced proc­ti­tis (an in­flam­ma­tion of the lin­ing of the rec­tum), wound sep­sis and os­te­o­ra­dionecro­sis (a con­di­tion of non­vi­tal bone in a site of ra­di­a­tion in­jury), with high-pres­sure oxy­gen.

Pa­tients also have the plea­sure of en­joy­ing an in-house chapel as for some of them be­ing at On­col­ogy rep­re­sents the pos­si­bil­ity of end of life.

So­cial Work Ser­vices are also pro­vided within the unit, which as­sists with coun­selling through de­vel­op­ment assess­ment, ren­der­ing sup­port ser­vices and link­ing pa­tients to other rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers such as NGOs.

The Free State On­col­ogy Ser­vices at­tributes its suc­cesses to a num­ber of fac­tors such as:

• Ded­i­cated staff that work as a team

• In­creased com­mu­nity aware­ness for pa­tients to test and seek early treat­ment for can­cer

• A clean en­vi­ron­ment that pro­vides hope for pa­tients

The Free State Depart­ment of Health is acutely aware of the pres­sure un­der which the On­col­ogy Ser­vices are pro­vided and the need to main­tain the high per­for­mance of the cur­rent ser­vice pro­vi­sion en­vi­ron­ment. There is a dire need for pro­cure­ment and main­te­nance of equip­ment and ma­chin­ery such as Lin­ear Ac­cel­er­a­tors, the re­cruit­ment of more staff and the train­ing of more on­col­o­gists, as well as in­creased lev­els of pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness to achieve the goals of early de­tec­tion and treat­ment.

To ac­cess On­col­ogy Ser­vices, please visit your near­est health clinic, doc­tor or health fa­cil­ity in or­der for tests to be con­ducted and re­fer­ral to be fa­cil­i­tated to the Pro­vin­cial On­col­ogy Ser­vices for treat­ment.

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