Elekta inaugurates new radiation therapy training center in South Africa

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

On October 23, Elekta inaugurated its advanced Elekta Training Center Cape Town, a collaboration between Elekta and Cape Town’s Tygerberg Hospital and Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Equipped with non-clinical Elekta systems for radiation therapy, brachytherapy, oncology information management and treatment planning, Elekta Training Center Cape Town is designed to train physicists, radiation oncologists, radiographers and neuroscience professionals from all African countries on Elekta’s sophisticated radiotherapy solutions.

“The lack of clinicians and equipment-trained radiotherapy professionals in many African countries can impede the delivery of radiation therapy services,” says Erik Leksell, Managing Director, Sub-Saharan Africa. “The training center will help address the problem of skilled care, both in South Africa and other parts of the continent as older systems are phased out and latest Elekta technology introduced. The burden of cancer in emerging health systems is alarming, therefore we are committed to making radiotherapy more accessible and continue to invest in training and education on the continent.”

The training center will start its activities with eight to 10 courses per year, training students on treatment planning systems.

“The impact of cancer diagnoses is ever increasing on the African continent – in 10 years it will have doubled from 600,000 to over a million,” says Prof. Hannah Simonds, Head of Radiation Oncology at Tygerberg Hospital. “With only 190 linear accelerators available, radiation services are extremely under resourced. Those of us in a position to provide teaching and training must take the lead in this rapidly developing field.”

“We appreciate Elekta’s focus on the importance of technical training, so for the company to establish the skills training laboratory in Cape Town is a real blessing to us,” says Professor Dhiro Gihwala, Dean of the Faculty of Health & Wellness Sciences at CPUT. “Elekta is drawing from its experiences in Europe, the United States and elsewhere in the world with similar installations. Having access to advanced technology will give our students the confidence and competence they need to practice in modern treatment environments. The training center – with a physicist on hand – can contribute to producing graduates with greatly enhanced skill sets in both basic and advanced treatment planning.”