Built and equipped with funding from Spitz Healthcare Investments, the centre has chemotherapy, laboratory, pharmacy and an in patient facilities. The centre’s radiation unit, will have the capacity to treat up to 50 patients a day,and will bring highly specialised treatment that has never been available in the country before.
The only other radiation treatment available in Namibia is at the state hospital in Windhoek, which uses an older, cobalt radiation unit. The new linear accelerator offers a wider scope of treatment protocols utilizing multiple energies capable of addressing a large variety of cancers.
A team of specialists, including oncologists, radiation therapists, nurses and support staff, have been put in place to man the new centre.
Oncologists, Dr. Elré van Heerden, notes that the benefits of the new unit will extend to patients beyond Namibia’s borders, as a number of private patients from Angola are also expected to seek treatment at the facility.
“The Elekta Synergy Platform with a sophisticated ultra-conformal field shaping with a fully integrated multileaf collimator allows for highly targeted radiation. Higher energies are important in the case of deep tumors or large patients. Elekta Digital Linear Accelerators allow health practitioners to limit the radiation exposure of normal tissue and so limit the side effects of treatment,” said Martin Noordman,service partner manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at Elekta South Africa.
Noordman continued to say that the arrival of Elekta’s highly advanced linear accelerator in Namibia will ease the burden on the state’s oncology facility through a possible public private partnership in future, as well as deliver a number of benefits to private patients who previously had to travel to major centres in South Africa for specialised treatment.
A typical cancer treatment would involve daily treatments for six weeks, thus travelling thousands of kilometres to another country for treatment entails significant cost and disruption for patients, but crucially it also separates them from their emotional support base at home at a time when they need it the most. With Namibia’s own state of the art Oncology Centre, cancer patients can now have a support base at home.
The private Namibian Oncology Centre is slated to open to the public later this year.