Government hopes new Groote Schuur Diabetes Centre will assist in management and prevention of the disease

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Diabetes experts at the newly launched Groote Schuur Diabetes Centre in Cape Town are calling on those living with the condition to manage their health status well to prevent medical complications.

The Western Cape government says the launch of the state of the art Diabetes Centre will ensure robust control, management and prevention of the disease.


Authorities revealed diabetes as a major cause of the high mortality rate in South Africa.

Experts say there are more than four million South Africans that are living with diabetes.

The launch coincided with World Diabetes Day.

Managing diabetes

Professor Joel Dave, who attended the launch, says people who manage their diabetes well normally lead longer and more productive lives.

Specialists at the Centre treat diabetes complications which include ulcers and loss of eyesight.

Professor Dave says the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the vulnerability of people living with diabetes.

“I think it’s essential that all people living with diabetes it’s a team effort you chose your multi-disciplinary team to help look after you but at the end of the day it’s the person living with diabetes who must take responsibility for ensuring that they get the adequate care and that they cure the older lifestyle measures. I think the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted that for everyone,” says Professor Dave.

Medical innovations

In the Western Cape, over 250 000 people are diagnosed with diabetes and half of those are treated at Groote Schuur Hospital.

Authorities described the facility as a one-stop-shop with cutting edge technology and data collection devices.

Western Cape Health Minister, Dr Nomafrench Mbombo says it consists of an education hub, eye testing, foot care, observation, clinical rooms and waiting areas.

Health authorities say the centre will see patients with rare conditions and complicated diabetes such as type 1 diabetes, organ transplants, diabetes in pregnancy and cystic fibrosis.

Western Cape Premier, Alan Winde had his diabetic status updated.


“I am sitting right here now having a podiatrist checking my feet out they have got all kinds of equipment. They can look at your blood flow, they can look at your feeling and your sensory because those are the early symptoms. If you are starting to lose it, they can actually escalate you and refer you to different treatments. If you lose that flow you could lose your limb over time,” says Winde.

Experts have urged people to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

They say according to international research, over 52% people globally do not know they live with the condition.

Africa’s mortality rate 

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation in Africa has found that COVID-19 patients with diabetes have a 10% fatality rate compared to patients without the disease.

The study focusing on 13 African countries, including Sierra Leone and the DRC, raises concern over the high number of untreated and undiagnosed diabetes sufferers.

The UN agency’s regional body is also concerned about the slow rate of vaccination on the continent, as outlined in the report below: