After nearly two years of COVID-19, which has increased backlog of postponed non-essential surgery, people with benign conditions are now becoming emergency cases, health NGOs have warned.
The Cancer Alliance, a collective of more than 33 non-profit organisations and cancer advocates fighting for those affected by the disease, said in Gauteng alone there are 2,000 cancer patients waiting for treatment, reports TimesLIVE.
Cancer Alliance said patients diagnosed with the disease should ideally receive treatment within three months. But at Charlotte Maxeke alone, about 1,000 men with prostate cancer are waiting up to five years for radiotherapy, 500 patients have been waiting for more than a year for breast cancer treatment and 300 women have been waiting for up to six months for cervical cancer treatment
The largest surgical backlog is for cataract operations (14,000 people), with patients waiting up to two years for surgery that takes about 40 minutes. Patients left untreated could go blind.
A report by 10 surgeons that looked at six government hospitals found the pandemic has created large backlogs of elective operations that should be tackled urgently. It recommends the urgent development of structured guidelines to streamline the reintroduction of full surgical healthcare services.
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