A multi-disciplinary centre for diabetes opens in KwaZulu-Natal

According to Statistics South Africa’s most recent Mortality and Causes of Death in South Africa report, KwaZulu-Natal had a higher proportion of deaths attributed to diabetes than the South African average in 2016. With this, it is great news that a newly launched Durban centre offers comprehensive approach to diabetes.

A multi-disciplinary Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Heart Care has opened at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital near Durban. The centre is the first of its kind in the private health sector in KwaZulu-Natal, and brings hope to those suffering from diabetes and its associated complications.

Growing health challenge

“Diabetes mellitus is a growing health challenge. Not only internationally, but also within KwaZulu-Natal where some 33% of all diabetic patients in South Africa are situated. There is a particularly high rate of this potentially life-threatening medical condition,” says endocrinologist Dr Sedeshan Govender, who has been the driving force behind the establishment of the new centre at the hospital, along with leading cardiologist Dr YT Singh.

Dr Singh agrees, adding that while the public tends to think of diabetes purely in terms of a blood glucose problem. It is in fact a highly complex endocrine condition that, if not managed timeously and appropriately, often results in cardiovascular and other serious health complications. As such, it’s a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, ischaemic foot problems, non-healing ulcers and gangrene.

Best treated holistically

“For these reasons, diabetes is best treated holistically by a multi-disciplinary team, such as is now being offered through this state-of-the-art centre at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, comprising cardio-metabolic and cardio-oncology units. The centre also incorporates wound care, podiatry, and diabetes education units, and will closely collaborate with the cardiac, vascular, stroke and dialysis units and eye specialists at the hospital.”

Dr Govender says that he and Dr Singh, who first envisaged the integrated diabetes, endocrinology and heart care centre five years ago, are “truly delighted” that Netcare supported their vision to establish the centre, and that it has now become a reality.

“Our aim is to bring together all specialists and allied health services to offer optimal coordinated care, thereby minimising long-term risk and complications for patients and improving clinical outcomes,” Dr Govender says.

Meet the team

Dr Govender is a leading member of the Centre with endocrinologist, Dr Fraser Pirie and paediatric endocrinologist, Dr Yasmeen Ganie. The cardiovascular and cardio-oncology unit comprises cardiologists:Dr YT Singh, Dr Joe McKibbin and Dr Connel Barnabas.

World stats

The International Diabetes Federation estimates that in 2017, 451 million adults worldwide had diabetes, with projections of 693 million cases by 2045. Globally, approximately 50% of diabetes cases are undiagnosed, whereas in Africa it is estimated that the proportion of undiagnosed cases is closer to 70%.

Kwazulu-Natal had a higher proportion of deaths attributed to diabetes than the South African average in 2016, according to Statistics South Africa’s most recent Mortality and Causes of Death in South Africa report.

Cardio-oncology unit

“The establishment of the cardio-oncology unit – a first in Africa, which forms part of the Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Heart Care, follows international recognition that cancer patients with co-morbidities and/or treatment-related cardiovascular problems can benefit greatly from a coordinated cardiovascular and oncology team approach,” says Dr Singh.

Craig Murphy, regional director of Netcare’s coastal region thanked Dr Govender, DrTrishun Singh and their teams for bringing these new services to the communities of KwaZulu-Natal, where they will meet a tremendous need.

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