Red Cross improves treatment

Recent renovations have been made in the haematology-oncology unit.

Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital commemorated World Cancer Day on Tuesday February 4 by reflecting on recent gains made in the prevention, detection, treatment and care of cancer patients in their haematology-oncology department.

The children’s hospital will also be commemorating the upcoming International Childhood Cancer Day on Saturday February 15.

World Cancer Day, led by the Union for International Cancer Control, is a global initiative that aims to reduce the global cancer burden. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17 people die every minute from cancer.

The children’s hospital’s haematology-oncology unit has treated 5 078 children with cancer since 1970. Currently, it attends to 5 000 outpatients a year.

The hospital’s spokesperson, Dwayne Evans, says the unit has recently been renovated with special isolation cubicles designed to improve capacity for bone marrow transplantation and a dedicated space to conduct much-needed research.

“In addition, it is fortunate to have the services of a social worker, a physiotherapist, an occupational therapist, a dietitian and a schoolteacher,” he said.

Head of haematology-oncology at the hospital, Professor Alan Davidson, says the unit has access to the excellent palliative care expertise of the PaedsPal team, which functions as a private public initiative.

“Our children have access to neurosurgery with neuroprotective technology designed to limit damage to the surrounding brain when removing tumours, stem cell transplantation, and various forms of specialised radiotherapy.”

Professor Davidson says these services rely on the continued involvement of highly trained staff, as well as a commitment by the government to maintain and grow them.

“This progress illustrates that treating cancer requires teams of professionals from a multitude of disciplines outside of clinical oncology,” he said.