Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) has officially launched its state-of-the-art Diabetes Centre aimed at promoting a culture of excellence in diabetes-related primary healthcare in the Western Cape. This will be the first public healthcare centre of its kind in Africa.

The launch was attended by the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, Minister of Health of Western Cape, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo, the Head of Health in the Western Cape, Dr Keith Cloete, as well as management at Groote Schuur Hospital and the sponsors of the Diabetes Centre.

“The pandemic has undoubtedly had a significant impact on our province’s ability to render primary healthcare services to patients who suffer from illnesses including Diabetes. We must begin to get our healthcare platform back on track as we recover and move forward,” said Winde who is a diabetic himself.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF):

  • Over the next 2 decades, the number of PLWD in Africa is projected to increase by 143%, the greatest increase among all continents.
  • In South Africa, there are an estimated 4.6 million people with diabetes.
  • Roughly 52% of people living with diabetes are undiagnosed. At least 50% of those that are diagnosed don’t have access to adequate care.
  • Approximately 70% of all people living with diabetes remain poorly controlled.

“Overall, diabetes is the second most common cause of mortality in South Africa, just behind tuberculosis. The vulnerability of people with diabetes to infectious diseases has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic with diabetes being a significant risk factor for hospitalisation and death from COVID-19. Data from the Western Cape shows that 43% of all those with COVID-19 requiring admission to hospital were PLWD and 23% of all deaths from COVID-19 were PLWD,” said Prof Joel Dave, Head of the Department of Endocrinology at Groote Schuur.

This centre will be used as a fulcrum on which an extensive and expanded diabetes service will be built providing the following services:

Diabetes Clinics: Specifically focusing on complicated diabetes such as Type 1 diabetes, diabetes in pregnancy, diabetes in special situations (patients with organs transplants, cystic fibrosis, steroid-induced, atypical), preoperative optimization of diabetes, specialised Diabetes Foot Clinic encompassing a multi-disciplinary team including a podiatrist, endocrinologist, vascular surgeon, plastic surgeon.

Patient Education: A dedicated patient education centre will form part of the GSH Diabetes Centre where patients will be encouraged to attend group sessions and one-on-one education sessions with trained diabetes educators.

Nurse Education: A state-of-the-art Conference Room will form part of the GSH Diabetes Centre and will be used to conduct Basic and Advanced Diabetes Education Courses for all nurses within the public and private sectors.

Doctor Education: The Conference Room will also be used to conduct Masterclasses in Diabetes for doctors within the public and private sectors.

Training of Endocrinologists/Physicians: The expertise and technology in the GSH Diabetes Centre will be used to train the next generation of endocrinologists and physicians for South Africa and Africa.

Teaching of medical students: The GSH Diabetes Centre will provide an environment in which the next generation of medical students and general practitioners will be empowered to develop a foundation of knowledge for the optimal management of PLWD.

Research: The GSH Diabetes Centre will focus on generating local data that will allow for the optimal management of PLWD in South Africa and will be used to inform local and national guidelines.

Outreach: The GSH Diabetes Centre will house the expertise and technology to conduct outreach clinics and training regionally, nationally and internationally within Africa. 


Source: Western Cape government