Sharing experiences of life with spinal cord injury

Awareness event highlights rehabilitation and coping strategies

Tuesday, October 11 2022

The possibilities for life after a spinal cord injury (SCI) are countless, even though each day may require the strength and perseverance of climbing a mountain. This was the message as survivors, families, specialists, staff at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital, and supporters, held an event to mark World Spinal Cord Injury Day recently.

“This year a spinal cord injury workshop was held with the theme 'SCI in conflicts and disasters: prepare and prevent'. Our keynote speakers, attorney Jerry Nkeli and recent previous patient Mr Shaun Swiegers, shared their personal experiences living with SCI,” says Gugulethu Setati, general manager of Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital. 

“Mr Nkeli encouraged all at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital to remain advocates of the rights of SCI patients, while Mr Swiegers urged patients to participate fully in their rehabilitation therapy as the 10 days invested in this recovery process can improve their quality of life for the next 10 years.

“This year we focused on challenging misconceptions around SCI. Patients shared their personal experiences, coping strategies and techniques, to help keep others living with SCI and facing similar adjustments motivated to conquer their own ‘everyday mountains,” she says.

The dedicated multidisciplinary healthcare professionals at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital in Auckland Park, Johannesburg provide rehabilitative therapies, medical and nursing care to many people each year who have suffered this kind of injury. 

“Part of the day was dedicated to empowering our patients so that they are active participants in society and know their rights and place in an inclusive and equitable South Africa, and how their families can support them,” she says.

“Through the various perspectives shared by patients, specialists and therapists, the event highlighted the value of a coordinated rehabilitation programme and the difference that this can make to individuals with spinal cord injury in achieving their goals, ambitions, and a better quality of life.”
Professor Andre Mochan, a neurologist who practices at the hospital, gave an informative talk on the use of Botox and the baclofen pump to manage spasticity. 

There was a brief on bladder management, and Dr Palesa Mahlangu, a psychologist also practising at Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital, led a discussion regarding sexual and reproductive health to dispel myths about this aspect of life for people with spinal cord injuries. 

“At Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital we try our best to assist our patients to achieve their highest level of independence so that they may actively participate in a meaningful and joyful life,” Setati concludes. 


Looking for a medical appointment? Netcare appointmed™ will make appointments for YOU with specialists practising at Netcare hospitals, GPs and dentists at Netcare Medicross medical and dental centres, and specialists at Netcare Akeso mental health facilities. Simply request an appointment online at or phone Netcare appointmed™  on 0860 555 565, Mondays to Fridays between 08:00 and 17:00.
To find out more about the services offered through Netcare hospitals and other of the Group’s facilities, please visit or contact the Netcare customer service centre either by email at [email protected] or phone 0860 NETCARE (0860 638 2273). Note that the centre operates Mondays to Fridays from 08:00 to 16:00.

For media enquiries, contact MNA at the contact details listed below.

Issued by:                    MNA on behalf of Netcare Rehabilitation Hospital
For media enquiries contact:    Martina Nicholson, Meggan Saville, Estene Lotriet-Vorster or Clemmy Forsthofer
Telephone:            (011) 469 3016
Email:    [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]