Page 0078

SPONSORED FEATURE: ELEKTA

CANCER CONTROL 2014 77

I

n establishing a partnership to improve the radiation

therapy situation in South Africa, Equra Health and Elekta

are building a vision to change the radiotherapy landscape

for an entire continent.

In April 2013, Equra Health and Elekta entered into a longterm agreement in which Equra

Health (Cape Town, South

Africa) will acquire at least 15 Elekta radiotherapy systems and

associated equipment, and work together to build an advanced

facility for training cancer care professionals. In addition to

addressing South Africa's need for greater radiotherapy

capacity, the Equra Health-Elekta partnership also will look to

other African countries, most of which have insufficient or suboptimal radiotherapy

facilities and training, and in some cases

none at all.

"Africa is the least developed region worldwide in

radiotherapy capabilities," says Erhardt Korf, Chief Operating

Officer at Equra Health, a corporation of 24 private clinics.

"This preferred provider partnership will ensure that South

Africans, and in time inhabitants of additional African

countries, will have access to world class technology and

technical and application support."

Building up South Africa … and the Continent

Access to radiotherapy in South Africa has been hampered by

many factors, including equipment costs, according to Korf. The

Elekta-Equra agreement is designed to increase the

affordability of radiation therapy technology for Equra Health,

which in turn will dramatically increase patient access to these

services over the next 10 years.

"It will allow public and private health care sectors to

cooperate, which will help reduce waiting lists for treatment

and enable patients to receive therapy earlier," he says. "This

will improve outcomes and provide a significant economic

benefit for the country as a whole."

As African countries begin to acquire modern radiotherapy

technology, Equra Health, in partnership with Elekta, sees an

opportunity to assist them from a training perspective and to

accelerate these countries' provision of world class radiation

oncology services. The joint training centre - equipped with

Elekta radiotherapy solutions - will serve as a focal point of

these efforts.

"The training centre will help address the problem of skilled

care, both locally and in the rest of Africa as we move from

older machines to the latest Elekta technology. Currently, this

type of training requires visits of overseas technical and

application specialists to South Africa and other African

countries, or sending staff members abroad."

The training centre will reinforce what Equra Health has

already been doing in South Africa, and avail clinics in other

African countries of these resources. Equra Health is involved

in the full spectrum of cancer care delivery in South Africa,

including intensive equipment training, clinical training

programmes on advanced radiotherapy techniques, a

comprehensive quality assurance and incident reporting and

review programme, and - through its strategic alliance

partner, the Independent Clinical Oncology Network (ICON)

- comprehensive training for family practitioners on all

aspects of cancer.

"Our vision is to transfer this knowledge and experience to

oncology units in Africa through our envisaged training

centre and an active partnership model," Korf explains. "The

training centre will offer theoretical and practical training to

qualified cancer management professionals right here on the

African continent. In this model, clinical personnel from the

African countries could rotate through one or more of the 24

Equra Health units in South Africa, and work with our

personnel on identical Elekta equipment they will use in their

own centres. The focus is on the skills and systems required

by qualified personnel to deliver an efficient, safe and

clinically beneficial cancer care service in smaller oncology

centres."

Korf predicts the training facility - scheduled to open in the

fourth quarter of 2014 - will educate over 600 clinical staff and

more than 100 administrative staff over five years. l

NEW CANCER CARE HORIZONS IN SOUTH AFRICA:

A RADIOTHERAPY VISION FOR A CONTINENT

For more information

Elekta - elekta.com and Equra Health - equrahealth.co.za

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