Namibian cancer patients requiring specialised radiation therapy will no longer have to travel to South Africa for their treatment, with the opening of the new Namibian Oncology Centre equipped with the country’s first Elekta digital linear accelerator.
The private Namibian Oncology Centre is set to open in Windhoek later this year. Built and equipped with funding from Spitz Healthcare Investments, the centre will have chemotherapy, laboratory, pharmacy and inpatient facilities, as well as the first digital linear accelerator radiation treatment in Namibia.
The centre’s radiation unit, with the capacity to treat up to 50 patients a day, will bring to Namibia highly specialised treatment. The only other radiation treatment available in Namibia is at the state hospital in Windhoek, which uses an older, cobalt radiation unit.
A team of specialists are in place to man the new centre. One of the team’s 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.
Dr. van Heerden believes this is a key benefit of the new Elekta linear accelerator and advanced treatment planning capability. ‘This equipment allows for highly targeted radiation treatment with limited damage to healthy tissue. This is crucial in curative treatment in particular, because with the ability to cure more patients, we need to ensure the treatment has as little long-term impact on healthy tissue as possible.’
Martin Noordman, service partner manager for sub-Saharan Africa at Elekta South Africa said the arrival of Elekta’s highly advanced linear accelerator in Namibia could ease the burden on the state’s oncology facility through a possible public-private partnership in future, as well as delivering a number of benefits to private patients who previously might have had to travel for specialised treatment.