Red Cross opens Duchenne centre

Unveiling the plaque that displays that the Red Cross Childrens Hospital as a certified Duchenne Care centre, at back, from left, are Vuyo Nkonzombi, MDF counsellor and Professor Jo Wilmsshurst, Head of Neurology. In front are Abigail Hayley, MD Foundation counsellor; patient Mogammad Small; Win van der Berg, chair of the Cape MDF branch; patient Buhle Mtintsilwana and his mother, Sipheesihle Mtintsilana.

The hospital was certified as a Duchenne Care Centre by the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy in October 2017 though have only recently unveiled a plaque last Tuesday , December 11 honouring this.

This centre will help the hospital battle muscular dystrophy (MD), which is the name given to a group of more than 70 different neuromuscular disorders causing progressive wasting and weakness of the muscles.

Dwayne Evans, spokesperson for the hospital, says each type presents differently and with its own levels of complexity.

“The prognosis varies according to the type of MD and the speed of progression. Some types are mild and progress very slowly, allowing normal life expectancy, while others are more severe and result in functional disability and loss of the ability to walk,” said Mr Evans.

The disorders are usually inherited, with the defective gene being passed on from one generation to the next. However, MD can also occur in families where there is no prior history of the condition. Duchenne is a type of muscular dystrophy.

During August and September 2016 the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation of South Africa was hosted representatives from Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy from the United States of America to present lectures about Duchenne Mus- cular Dystrophy to South African families.

Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy is recognised around the world as the leader in the Duchenne community and because of their efforts families affected by Duchenne have better access to state-of-the-art care information and research.

“It was during this visit that the neuromuscular service, based at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town, applied for certification as a Duchenne Care Centre from Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy,” said Mr Evans.

Professor Jo Wilmshurst, head of neurology at the hospital, said: “This certification confirms that the best Duchenne-specific patient care and management is provided to affected boys at this centre.

“This care is in agreement with international standards, therefore reducing discrepancies in care.”

Chief executive officer of the hospital, Dr Matodzi Mukosi said that the Cape Town centre must ensure that this level of care is maintained to retain the accreditation.

“We are dedicated to ensuring the neuromuscular service, among our other services continues, ensuring world quality care to patients and maintaining its certification,” he said.