Comprehensive and integrated digestive diseases and liver treatment centre a first for Gauteng

Specialist referral centre now available to patients from around the continent

Wednesday, May 10 2017

A digestive diseases and liver health centre offering a comprehensive multidisciplinary and holistic approach for the early detection, diagnosis and treatment of complex gastrointestinal, liver, gallbladder and pancreatic diseases was launched at Netcare Rosebank Hospital in Johannesburg recently.

“The Digestive Diseases and Liver Health Centre at the hospital brings together a range of medical disciplines as well as ancillary healthcare services to provide a highly patient centred service for referring physicians and their patients,” says Jacques du Plessis, managing director of the Netcare hospital division.

According to Du Plessis, the new centre, the development of which has been driven by hepatopancreaticobiliary surgeon, Dr Anna Sparaco in association with Netcare, is designed to provide patients with an all-inclusive multidisciplinary service for the diagnosis and treatment of these diseases by a team of highly trained and experienced specialists.

“The facility offers a holistic and integrated service to patients with digestive diseases, and the centre is a novel concept for private medicine within Gauteng province. We fully expect the Digestive Diseases and Liver Health Centre at Netcare Rosebank Hospital to serve as a specialist referral service for patients not only from the province but from around the country and indeed the African continent.”

Dr Sparaco says that the centre offers a number of sub-specialities including gastroenterology; hepatology, internal medicine, surgery and medical and radiation oncology. Advanced interventional endoscopic services including endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, endoscopic ultrasound, Spy Glass, double balloon endoscopy and capsular endoscopy are also available.

“In addition to the standard open or laparoscopic surgical expertise, the ability to ablate tumours via various technologies such as radiofrequency ablation, microwave ablation, selective internal radiation therapy [SIRT] and chemo-embolisation are part of the centre’s armamentarium in the fight against cancers,” observes Dr Sparaco.

“With a team of gastroenterologists, hepato-pancreato-biliary [HPB] specialists and general surgeons, interventional endoscopists, specialist physicians, interventional radiologists, medical and radiation oncologists, laboratory service professionals and dieticians, we have a comprehensive and highly patient centred approach for the full spectrum of gastrointestinal diseases, which include the liver and pancreas,” points out Dr Sparaco.

“At the Digestive Diseases and Liver Health Centre, we view each patient as an individual with unique needs and expectations. This understanding guides the team in developing an individualised and highly targeted treatment plan that takes into consideration each patient’s specific circumstances, lifestyle and personal goals,” says Dr Sparaco.

“In each case, the team works closely together to design personalised diagnostic and therapeutic plans for the patient. Cancer tumours, by way of example, can be diagnostically tested for molecular changes, and the most effective treatment plan for a particular patient is then developed by the various specialists based on the results. Emphasis is also placed on the early detection and management of disease to help ensure the best possible medical outcomes,” explains Dr Sparaco.

“We understand that undergoing treatment for chronic digestive diseases and cancers can be challenging to patients, both physically and emotionally. Therefore, we offer patients a range of additional specialised therapies and support services including counselling and nutrition guidance, coordinated by the centre, to assist patients and help reduce any stress they may experience.

“The centre is also working closely with organisations such as CANSA, to ensure that patients can easily access psychosocial support should they require it. Those who feel they would benefit can also access complementary therapies.”

The centre’s core medical team consists of gastroenterologists, Dr Mike Strimling and Dr Neo Seabi; HPB surgeons, Dr Moses Balabyeki and Dr Sparaco; gastrointestinal surgeon, Dr Alan Wolowitz; and oncologist, Dr Jason Naicker.

“These specialists are some of the most experienced and highly respected medical professionals within their respective fields in the country, and together they represent an incomparable team of digestive disease experts,” says Sara Nayager, general manager of Netcare Rosebank Hospital.

Nayager thanked Dr Sparaco for her efforts in developing the centre, as well as the various medical professionals practising at the hospital and internal departments whose collaborative effort helped to make the facility a reality.

“There has long been a great need for a comprehensive digestive diseases centre such as this based in Johannesburg. There is a similar centre based at UCT Private Academic Hospital in Cape Town, but few other such facilities anywhere on the African continent, and many of the support services now available at Netcare Rosebank Hospital are unique.

“It is most gratifying that the combined efforts of the medical professionals and the hospital have borne fruit in this way and we are now able to offer this service for the first time to patients both locally and from around the continent,” she concludes.


Issued by:    MNA on behalf of Netcare Rosebank Hospital
Contact    :    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville and Pieter Rossouw
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]