A medical team led by UKZN’s Professor Alain Assounga has trained 23 Nephrologists using a College of Medicine syllabus and Grey’s Hospital in Pietermaritzburg and the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Central Hospital (IALCH) in Durban as teaching platforms.
Assounga is Head of the Discipline of Nephrology at UKZN’s Nelson R. Mandela School of Medicine, and chief specialist at IALCH in Durban.
He received his medical training in Brazzaville in the Congo and internal medicine and nephrology training in Montpellier in France. He did further training in immunology at Harvard Medical School in the United States, graduating with a PhD in Immunology and Molecular Biology. He conducts clinical research in nephrology at IALCH, and immunology of transplantation at UKZN’s Clinical Medicine Laboratory. He lectured and practiced medicine in the Congo and Botswana before moving to Durban.
A six-month rotation of trainee nephrologists at Ngwelezane Hospital, Stanger Hospital, Port Shepstone Hospital and Madadeni Hospital has improved the service of internal medicine at these decentralised sites and supported the management of renal patients. This rotation has facilitated the start of renal clinics and monitoring of aemodialysis patients especially at Ngwelezane, Madadeni, and Port Shepstone hospitals.
To improve access to nephrology care in KwaZulu-Natal, there are plans to offer nephrology services through satellite haemodialysis units, and the start-up of renal clinic networks to attend to current renal patients and prevent end-stage renal disease. This programme will be implemented over the next four years with the help of eight nephrology trainees. The renal network clinic platform will provide support for research in renal disease.
Words: Lihle Sosibo