Western Cape Premier Alan Winde today paid a visit to the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital, where he was given a tour of the oncology unit, and had the opportunity to meet with some of the children receiving medical care there, and their parents.
Premier Winde also handed over book donations received in the Western Cape Government book drive, to be used in the hospital libraries.
"The Red Cross Children's Hospital does amazing work, not just for the children of the Western Cape, but for children from across Africa. I met with them today not only to see the work that they do, but to see how we as government can become more involved in assisting them to continue giving the world-class care that they do," Premier Winde said.
During the visit, Premier Winde was briefed on childhood cancers, and the treatment thereof, by the head of oncology and haemotology at the hospital, Professor Alan Davidson.
Childhood cancers are more rare than adult ones, and tend to consist mainly of brain tumours, acute leukemia and tumours in deep-seated organs such as the liver, kidney and adrenal glands. These kind of tumours are usually fast-growing, which also makes them more susceptible to chemotherapy.
The hospital estimates that about 150 children under the age of 15 are diagnosed with cancer in the province each year, with about 100 of these in the Cape Town metro. In higher income countries, about 70-80% of children with cancer survive. Because of the excellent treatment offered by both the Red Cross Children's Hospital and the Tygerberg Children's Hospital, the outcomes in the Western Cape are in line with other middle and high income countries.
"For parents who have to go through the very difficult experience of having a child in cancer treatment, knowing that their child has access to excellent medical care and support services, is a huge relief. I'd like to thank the staff at the hospital for their dedication to providing children from across the continent with excellent medical care, for a range of health issues. I would like to express my gratitude to all the doctors and staff at the hospital for the dedication with which they serve our young children, as well as to all the donors who play an important role in ensuring that the hospital stays at the cutting edge of medicine and can offer the best care to children," Premier Winde said.