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Groote Schuur Hospital launches Diabetes Centre

Groote Schuur Hospital launched its state-of-the-art Diabetes Centre yesterday. Picture: File

Groote Schuur Hospital launched its state-of-the-art Diabetes Centre yesterday. Picture: File

Published Nov 15, 2021


AFTER commemorating World Diabetes Day on Sunday, Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town yesterday launched its state-of-the-art Diabetes Centre.

According to the provincial health department, the centre aims to promote a culture of excellence in diabetes-related primary healthcare in the Western Cape.

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It also stated its Diabetes Centre will be the first public healthcare centre of its kind in Africa.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, MEC of Health Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, the head of Health in the Western Cape, Dr Keith Cloete, as well as management at Groote Schuur Hospital and the sponsors of the Diabetes Centre, attended the launch.

Winde, who is a type 2 diabetic himself, emphasised the importance of the launch of this centre.

“The pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant impact on our province’s ability to render primary healthcare services to patients who suffer from illnesses including diabetes. We must begin to get our healthcare platform back on track as we recover and move forward,” he said.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), over the next two decades, Africa will see a projected increase of 143% of people living with diabetes. It stated in South Africa, 4.6 million people are living with diabetes.

The IDF said about 52% of people living with diabetes are undiagnosed and of those diagnosed, at least 50% do not have access to adequate care. It also added that close to 70% of all people living with diabetes remain poorly controlled.

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According to the head of department of endocrinology at Groote Schuur Hospital, Professor Joel Dave, diabetes is the second most common cause of death in South Africa, just behind tuberculosis.

“The vulnerability of people living with diabetes to infectious diseases has been highlighted during the recent Covid-19 pandemic with diabetes being a significant risk factor for hospitalisation and death from Covid-19.

“Data from the Western Cape shows that 43% of all those with Covid-19 requiring admission to hospital were people living with diabetes and 23% of all deaths from Covid-19 were people living with diabetes,” Dave said.

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The centre will be providing services such as a diabetes clinic which among other things will focus on type 1 diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy, diabetes in special situations (patients with organs transplants, cystic fibrosis, steroid-induced, atypical), preoperative optimisation of diabetes, specialised Diabetes Foot Clinic encompassing a multi-disciplinary team including a podiatrist, endocrinologist, vascular surgeon and plastic surgeon.

It will also focus on patient education, nurse and doctor education for those within the public and private sectors, training of endocrinologists/physicians, teaching of medical students, research and outreach.

Mbombo said she has first hand experience of how patients living with diabetes struggle with their illness.

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“We must do more in providing affordable and uninterrupted access to diabetes care for everyone.

“We know that early diagnosis and access to appropriate care for all types of diabetes can avoid or delay complications in people living with the condition.

“That is why I am so encouraged by the establishment of the Diabetes Centre. It shows we are on the right track in the fight against diabetes,” Mbombo said.