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Wits dispatches oncologists to cancer care critical KZN

- Wits University

South Africa is confronted by a quadruple* burden of disease, which includes cancer. The province of KZN faces serious challenges in providing cancer services.

Amongst these challenges is the shortage of medical specialists with expertise in managing patients with cancer. The Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital and Addington Hospital in KZN do not have full-time oncologists and this has negatively affected the provision of cancer care in these hospitals.

In response to these challenges, the KZN Department of Health sourced oncologists through a tender process. The tender was awarded to the Wits Health Consortium (Pty) Ltd (WHC), a company wholly owned by the University of the Witwatersrand and registered in the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences since 1998. 

The contract was signed on 19 February 2018. The tender entails providing oncologists for five days a week for an agreed period of six months. The majority of oncologists were sourced from the private sector in KZN. 

Preparations are underway to ensure that the first patient is seen before the end of February 2018. This aims to mitigate new and follow-up patients and restore all cancer services for the affected patients and communities in eThekwini District. 

“As Wits University we are very excited about this important award to the WHC. It allows us and our partners to work with the Department of Health to bring services to those in need, and enables us to share expertise and contribute towards the national health insurance,” says Dr Wezile Chitha, Assistant Dean: Strategic Affairs, Wits Faculty of Health Sciences. 

The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand is committed to supporting the national health system through its academic, research and service programmes. This is informed by the University’s mandate to be globally competitive but locally responsive.



*The quadruple burden of disease refers to (i) maternal, newborn and child health (ii) HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB)

(iii) non-communicable diseases including cancer, stroke, heart attacks, diabetes,  asthma and depression and (iv)

violence and injury.