Partners launch arthroplasty game-changer

Dr Diliza Mji, the Chief Executive Officer of Busamed Group Hospital

Dr Diliza Mji, the Chief Executive Officer of Busamed Group Hospital

Published Apr 15, 2024


Durban — Medical relief has been brought to patients in need of arthroplasty surgery in KwaZulu-Natal with the launch of the Busamed Arthroplasty private plastic project in Hillcrest on Friday.

Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to restore the function of a joint.

Present at the launch were some of the best doctors in South Africa, Busamed founder Dr Diliza Mji, the CEO of Busamed, Dr Dumani Kula, and the orthopaedic surgeon, Dr Michiel Ter Haar.

According to Busamed, the public-private partnership arthroplasty project was formed to help thousands of South Africans, some of whom have waited several years on a list of approximately 1 200 patients to be treated. The project was initiated to limit the constraints in state sectors and the burden of orthopaedic trauma.

“Patients are taken from the waiting list at Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH), pre-operative work gets done at IALCH, and Busamed collects the patients from IALCH, an initiative that accommodates previously disadvantaged people, solely reliant on the state sector for their health, and low-income earners who do not have the luxury of medical aid,” said Busamed.

Three hip replacement patients, Ntombizodwa Madlala, 42, Dumisa Ntshangase, 46, and Daniel Naidoo, 47, were present at the launch.

Naidoo of Chatsworth explained his journey and the process of being operated on. He was admitted to Busamed Hospital for a hip replacement in 2015.

Naidoo said he woke up one day and could not walk. He called an ambulance and was admitted to RK Khan Hospital but they could not find the cause of the problem. He added that he continued with his treatment and in 2020, he was transferred to Albert Luthuli Hospital.

Naidoo was placed on the surgery list. He thanked God when he received a call in March 2024 about the operation.

“I wish God blesses all the doctors that laid their hands on me,” Naidoo added.

Dr Diliza Mji leans in to hug KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube. | Supplied

KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube stated that this was a partnership between the Department of Health, Busamed, and Arthroplasty Solutions Trust. Dube-Ncube described it as a life-changing project giving people the ability to move.

“Imagine for a moment not being able to walk freely, to enjoy the simple pleasures of mobility. It is a reality for millions worldwide, hindered by joint pain and mobility issues.

“This partnership will assist the government in reducing the backlog of patients waiting for low-risk hip or knee replacement surgery. This is a physical expression of what we can achieve if we work together as the government and the private sector, especially in the medical arena,” Dube-Ncube said.

Dube-Ncube said that surgeries were expected to be performed on at least two patients every week.

“Surgeries will be done for 50 out of the 52 weeks in a year, bringing the total of joint replacements done per year to approximately 100. With each day that passes the waiting list grows rapidly, resulting in patients suffering from advanced degeneration of their joints. This is an untenable situation which calls for drastic action,” she said.

Dube-Ncube said the global fee to do a hip or knee replacement in the private sector could cost more than R153 000. She added that with the project, there would be about a 44% reduction to around R85 000 for the procedure.

Dube-Ncube said the project is a game-changer because it is aimed at collapsing the walls of social and economic disparities that have created a two-tier health system in our country.

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