Newly launched Durban centre offers comprehensive approach to diabetes

Multi-disciplinary Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Heart Care first of its kind in KZN

Wednesday, August 7 2019

A multi-disciplinary Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Heart Care has opened at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital near Durban. The centre is the first of its kind in the private health sector in KwaZulu-Natal, and brings hope to those suffering from diabetes and its associated complications.

“Diabetes mellitus is a growing health challenge not only internationally, but also within KwaZulu-Natal where some 33% of all diabetic patients in South Africa are situated, there is a particularly high rate of this potentially life-threatening medical condition,” says endocrinologist Dr Sedeshan Govender, who has been the driving force behind the establishment of the new centre at the hospital, along with leading cardiologist Dr YT (Trishun) Singh.

Dr Singh agrees, adding that while the public tends to think of diabetes purely in terms of a blood sugar problem, it is in fact a highly complex endocrine condition that, if not managed timeously and appropriately, often results in cardiovascular and other serious health complications. As such, it is a leading cause of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, ischaemic foot problems, non-healing ulcers and gangrene.

“For these reasons, diabetes is best treated holistically by a multi-disciplinary team, such as is now being offered through this state-of-the-art centre at Netcare uMhlanga Hospital, comprising cardio-metabolic and cardio-oncology units. The centre also incorporates wound care, podiatry, and diabetes education units, and will closely collaborate with the cardiac, vascular, stroke and dialysis units and eye specialists at the hospital.”

Dr Govender says that he and Dr Singh, who first envisaged the integrated diabetes, endocrinology and heart care centre five years ago, are “truly delighted” that Netcare supported their vision to establish the centre, and that it has now become a reality.

“Our aim is to bring together all specialists and allied health services to offer optimal coordinated care, thereby minimising long-term risk and complications for patients and improving clinical outcomes,” observes Dr Govender, who is a leading member of the diabetes/endocrine center with endocrinologist, Dr Fraser Pirie and paediatric endocrinologist, Dr Yasmeen Ganie. The cardiovascular and cardio-oncology unit comprises cardiologists Dr YT Singh, Dr Joe McKibbin and Dr Connel Barnabas.

Speaking at the launch of the centre, Craig Murphy, regional director of Netcare’s coastal region, said: “The multi-disciplinary team at the centre will be able to meaningfully assist individuals in managing their diabetes and other chronic conditions. In this way the centre will no doubt make an invaluable contribution to the health and care of our communities.”

“I recall that when Trishun first approached me with the vision of establishing the centre, I did some research on diabetes and, as a layman, was astounded to learn of the prevalence of the condition in our society and the impact it has on those suffering from it,” observed Murphy.

“The International Diabetes Federation estimates that in 2017, 451 million adults worldwide had diabetes, with projections of 693 million cases by 2045.  Globally, approximately 50% of diabetes cases are undiagnosed, whereas in Africa it is estimated that the proportion of undiagnosed cases is closer to 70%.

“Kwazulu-Natal had a higher proportion of deaths attributed to diabetes than the South African average in 2016, according to Statistics South Africa’s most recent Mortality and Causes of Death in South Africa report.

“Recent years have seen a shift in the approach to patient care. Whereas healthcare was provided in a more fragmented manner in the past, current trends are towards a more collaborative approach to patient care by multi-disciplinary teams, and to customise treatment programmes taking into consideration the unique clinical needs and circumstances of each individual person. We at Netcare are, in line with international trends, fully supportive of care that is person centred.”

The establishment of the cardio-oncology unit – a first in Africa, which forms part of the Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Heart Care, follows international recognition that cancer patients with co-morbidities and/or treatment-related cardiovascular problems can benefit greatly from a coordinated cardiovascular and oncology team approach,” says Dr Singh.

Murphy thanked Dr Govender, Dr Trishun Singh and their teams for bringing these new services to the communities of KwaZulu-Natal, where they would meet a tremendous need.

“The development of this Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology and Heart Care is an important development in the treatment and management of diabetes and its associated complications, as well as other chronic diseases, and an important milestone for private medicine in the province,” concludes Murphy.


To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please contact Netcare’s customer service centre: email: [email protected] or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:30.

For more information on this media release, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.

Issued by:            MNA on behalf of Netcare uMhlanga Hospital
Contact:    Martina Nicholson, Graeme Swinney, Meggan Saville or Estene Lotriet-Vorster
Telephone:    (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]