Droa Nginza Hospital paediatric oncologist Dr Johani Vermeulen and paediatrician Dr Elmarie Matthews saw more than 2 500 patients with suspected cancer, diagnosing 38 with cancer and 20 with blood diseases.
Vermeulen, in her report-back on Wednesday night at the Igazi Foundation’s annual meeting, said a bigger unit was desperately needed.
She said they were overwhelmed by the generosity and support of the Nelson Mandela Bay community and even from NGOs from elsewhere in the country.
“Paediatric cancer is highly prevalent in the Eastern Cape.”
As Vermeulen is the only specialist paediatric oncologist in the province, she is seeing both private and state patients at Dora Nginza.
This week there were nine little beds squeezed into the sixbed oncology ward, with mothers sleeping on the floor. Another five patients had to be accommodated in other wards.
“I want to extend my compliments to the previous Health MEC, Sicelo Gqobana, who has kept his word and really pushed for the expedient establishment of the ward,” Vermeulen said.
– Estelle Ellis
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