How Elekta is providing state-of-the-art cancer treatment to patients in Namibia
Namibian cancer patients requiring specialized radiation therapy will no longer have to travel to South Africa for their treatment, with the opening of the new Namibian Oncology Centre equipped with the country’s first Elekta digital linear accelerator.
The private Namibian Oncology Centre is set to open in Windhoek later this year. Built and equipped with funding from Spitz Healthcare Investments, the centre will have chemotherapy, laboratory, pharmacy and in-patient facilities as well as the first digital linear accelerator radiation treatment in Namibia.
The centre’s radiation unit, with the capacity to treat up to 50 patients a day, will bring to Namibia highly specialized treatment never before available in the country. The only other radiation treatment available in Namibia is at the state hospital in Windhoek, which uses an older, cobalt radiation unit.
The new linear accelerator offers a wider scope of treatment protocols utilizing multiple energies capable of addressing a large variety of cancers.
A team of specialists, including oncologists, radiation therapists, nurses and support staff, is now in place to staff the new centre. One of the team’s oncologists, Dr. Elré van Heerden, notes that the benefits of the new unit will extend to patients beyond Namibia’s borders, as a number of private patients from Angola are also expected to seek treatment at the facility.
Martin Noordman, service partner manager for Sub-Saharan Africa at Elekta South Africa, said the Digital Linear Accelerator offers a wider scope of treatment protocols offering multiple energies capable of addressing a large variety of cancers, in a recent press release.
Noordam explained that the Elekta Synergy Platform with a sophisticated ultra-conformal field shaping with a fully integrated multileaf collimator allows for highly targeted radiation. Higher energies are important in the case of deep tumors or large patients. Elekta Digital Linear Accelerators allow health practitioners to limit the radiation exposure of normal tissue and so limit the side effects of treatment.
Dr. van Heerden believes this is a key benefit of the new Elekta linear accelerator and advanced treatment planning capability.
“This equipment allows for highly targeted radiation treatment with limited damage to healthy tissue. This is crucial in curative treatment in particular, because with the ability to cure more patients, we need to ensure the treatment has as little long term impact on healthy tissue as possible,” he said.
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Noordman says the arrival of Elekta’s highly advanced linear accelerator in Namibia could ease the burden on the state’s oncology facility through a possible public-private partnership in future, as well as delivering a number of benefits to private patients who previously might have had to travel to major centres in South Africa for specialised treatment.
“Typical cancer treatments would entail daily treatments for six weeks,” said Dr. van Heerden. “Thus travelling thousands of kilometres to another country for treatment entails significant cost and disruption for patients, but crucially—it also separates them from their emotional support base at home at a time when they need it the most.”
Schneider Electric's intelligent patient room: need to know
Schneider Electric has launched a virtual showcase that features its new "intelligent patient room". What is it exactly?
Who: Schneider Electric is a multinational that develops energy and automation solutions for many different industries - including hospitality, education, defence, and healthcare. Founded in 1836, today it is a Fortune 500 company, and it currently provides technology to 40% of hospitals around the world, among them Penn Medicine, one of the top hospitals in the US where Schneider's EcoStruxure for Healthcare is deployed, an IoT solution.
What: Schneider has launched its Innovation Experience Live Healthcare Lab, an immersive experience that takes visitors through a demonstration of a hospital, including the doctor’s office, the operating room, and the intelligent patient room.
The room features a digital patient footwall - a touchscreen that creates a single reference point for patients, families and healthcare providers, by incorporating care information, entertainment and environmental controls all in one place. A separate digital patient door display has important information for healthcare staff.
All Schneider's equipment is low-voltage, and integrated so that the patient room, clinical needs and IT are all seamlessly connected, what Schneider calls a digital “system of systems.”
Why: Mike Sanders, Customer Projects & Services in Healthcare Innovation at Schneider Electric, explains: “The hospital of the future will need to put the patient experience at the forefront, using innovative and connected systems to provide superior in-hospital care experiences.”
“With the shift to remote work and business brought forth by the pandemic, we knew that we needed to invest in a new virtual experience that showcases our vision for a truly integrated healthcare experience. We believe our intelligent patient room is the solution that our healthcare partners and customers have been looking for, and we’re excited to offer a way for them to experience it no matter where they are in the world.”
Where: The virtual experience was modelled after the new innovations installed at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, the first real-world installation of Schneider Electric’s fully integrated intelligent patient room technology. It is currently being hosted at the company’s St. Louis Innovation Hub and Innovation Executive Briefing Center (IEBC) facility.