THE team at Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital’s newly-accredited metabolic and bariatric surgery unit. Goitsemang Tlhabye
Pretoria - The Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Tshwane has officially become the first in Gauteng and second in the country to be internationally accredited to perform metabolic and bariatric surgeries.

The hospital’s general surgery department received the international accreditation yesterday following a two-year process initiated by its head Professor Zach Koto, Aquilo Health Consulting firm and Professor Peter Funch-Jensen, from Denmark.

The accolade makes the city hospital a first in the province to receive the accreditation and the second public hospital in the country following the Western Cape’s Tygerberg Hospital, which was accredited last year.

General surgeon and co-ordinator at George Mukhari, Dr Ané* Lengton, said she and the team were elated about the new accredited metabolic surgery and bariatric unit.

Lengton said that with the unit up and running they would now be able to offer the public weight-loss surgery - or gastric bypass surgery.

She said weight-loss surgery was previously regarded as more of cosmetic surgery, but as it had so much more significance to aiding certain health problems.

They were trying to move away from that perception.

Lengton said being able to offer the surgery to the general public was a positive step, considering the country was battling obesity.

The reason for this, she said, was due to the challenge of poverty which resulted in many being malnourished on the one hand, while on the other having access to lots of processed carbohydrates which had become a staple diet in many households.

“With this metabolic surgery we can actually cure type 2 diabetes and hypertension and other health complications that arise from obesity which are currently putting a huge financial strain on the public health sector.

“Not only that but we can deal with obesity before it results in health issues and actually deal with people dying at a younger age due to strokes, heart attacks and other complications.”

Lengton said that prior to receiving the accreditation, the hospital was assessed by the consulting firm and had undertaken training workshops for the staff on numerous occasions throughout the year.

She said this was done to ensure that they were up to the international standard even though it was a public health facility and was a resource-limited environment.

Lengton said the most important thing for them was to move the surgery to where it was needed rather than being reserved for the private sector exclusively.

Pretoria News