Monthly Archives: April 2019

South Africa Hospital Delivers HDR Brachytherapy Cancer Treatments with Varian Bravos Afterloader System

PALO ALTO, California and CAPE TOWN, South Africa, April 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Varian (NYSE: VAR) announced Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa is the first hospital in Africa to deliver High Dose Rate (HDR) brachytherapy treatments with the Bravosafterloader system. Bravos is an integrated system designed to improve the patient and clinic experience by simplifying brachytherapy treatments and providing greater workflow efficiency.

HDR brachytherapy involves delivering radiotherapy by temporarily placing a tiny radioactive source directly into the tumor or other targeted area. Using an afterloader, clinicians are able to position the radioactive source in a needle, catheter or tumor-specific applicator following a pattern that has been designed to create a highly conformal dose distribution within or on the surface of the patient’s anatomy. Once the treatment is completed, the afterloader safely returns the source to the afterloader.

To simplify the treatment process, the Bravos afterloader features a touchscreen control and instinctive LED lights. The touchscreen provides easy access to patient treatment information on the afterloader, eliminating the need for the clinician to leave the room to retrieve patient and treatment information.

To help increase efficiency of the treatment process, Bravos features a customizable pre-treatment checklist on the touchscreen. Like surgical procedures, the customizable checklist allows the clinician to set a review process including a time-out for patient safety, and e-signatures for speed and accuracy.

“We have been very impressed with Varian’s new afterloader technology and it is a big advancement from our previous system,” said Nanette Joubert, acting head, Medical Physics, Groote Schuur Hospital. “The Bravos system easily integrated with our Varian ARIA oncology information system and allowed us to quickly and safely begin seeing a full schedule of patients.”

“The Bravos system was quickly and easily integrated into the department to start treating gynecology cancer patients,” said Professor Jeannette Parkes, head of Division Radiation Oncology at Groote Schuur Hospital and University of Cape Town. “This is one of the largest groups of patients in our setting. In the future, we are looking forward to extending the brachytherapy program to treat prostate cancer patients, head and neck patients and possibly other groups of cancer patients with HDR brachytherapy.”

“We are delighted to be partnering with Groote Schuur Hospital to bring this advanced brachytherapy technology to cancer patients in South Africa,” said Vincent Ronfle, sales operations director Africa, Varian Oncology Systems EMEIA. “The Varian team conducted extensive global clinical research to better understand the needs of clinicians and patients to help simplify the brachytherapy treatment process. The result was Bravos and it is another important step towards creating a world without fear of cancer.”

About Varian
Varian is a leader in developing and delivering cancer care solutions and is focused on creating a world without fear of cancer. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, Varian employs approximately 7,000 people around the world. For more information, visit and follow @VarianMedSys on Twitter.

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MEC Donald Grant: Official opening of upgraded N1/Old Oak Bridge Project

Newly upgraded R487 million N1/Old Oak Bridge project set to ease city congestion

It is a great honour to be here today to mark the completion of this long-awaited N1/Old Oak Bridge upgrade project which has spanned three years, using a R487 million investment in roads infrastructure by the Department of Transport and Public Works.

When this project commenced in February 2016, we boldly set out to add an extra lane to parts of the N1 that previously had two lanes, thereby contributing significantly to decreased levels of congestion on one of the City’s busier roads.

Work was carried out over the 9 km stretch of the N1, from Plattekloof Road to just beyond the Old Oak interchange. This stretch of the N1 has been known to experience severe levels of congestion at both morning and afternoon peak periods, with approximately 120 000 vehicles being carried every day. Traffic volumes along the route in 2013 ranged from 76 500 AADT (Annual Average Daily Traffic) between Old Oak and R300 to 120 000 AADT between Jip de Jager and Durban Road, a high percentage of which are heavy commercial vehicles serving the Port and industrial areas of Cape Town.

The congestion on the route has in the past led to extended commuter peak hour traffic durations of up to 4 hours, which in turn has started to impact on the commercial and business traffic flows.

With the project now completed, motorists can expect a smoother flow of traffic on both the inbound and the outbound lanes.

The scope of the work spanning four phases included:

additional lanes on the carriageways of the freeway to improve traffic safety and capacity,

new auxiliary lanes to improve weaving conditions,

extension of the existing concrete median barrier to prevent head-on collisions,

intersection improvements at various parts of the freeway,

demolition and reconstruction of the Old Oak West bridge and repairs to other bridges along the freeway.

The project also included works to the existing water pipeline in the middle of the freeway.

Our dedicated team, in partnership with local authorities, made every effort to ensure minimal disruption to traffic during the construction phase of the project, with periodic road closures being necessary at different stages. Working hours were also restricted to periods outside of both the morning and the afternoon peak times of 6am to 9am inbound, and 3pm to 7pm outbound.

One of the highlights of the project has been the Emerging Contractor Development Programme, which is part of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), and its facilitation of skills development and the promotion of business sustainability for emerging contractors in the construction industry. A total of 4 % (R12.68 million) was spent on this programme.

Beneficiaries included contractors with a CIDB Grading of 3CE -5CE (Civil Engineering), particularly youth and women. A total of R41.6 million was committed to Black Business Enterprises, and a total of 33 600 person days set aside for labour sourced from the local area, with a total of 39 247 achieved at the completion of the project.

The contractor has also employed 6 National Youth Service (NYS) learners as part of the project. These learners will receive invaluable practical training, mentorship, and skills for the six-month period that they will be employed.

Roads remain an integral and essential part of the wider transport system. A country’s road network should be efficient in order to maximise economic and social benefits, and improve access to economic opportunities. This knowledge is what pushes the Department of Transport and Public Works to continue to invest in constructing and maintaining our road network, an asset valued at billions of rands. In this financial year, we have set aside R3.66 billion for transport infrastructure that will see more upgrade and maintenance projects being undertaken.

The N1 is undoubtedly one of the more important roads, particularly for this region, and improving travel times and easing congestion on this road remains an imperative. As a department and the Western Cape Government, we will continue to invest in road planning, construction, rehabilitation, and maintenance, particularly on roads of economic importance.

I should like to extend my sincere congratulations and job-well-done to all who have played a part in this projects successful completion.

I thank you.

Source: Government of South Africa

Frustration led wheelchair innovator to thrive in Business

The rugby wheelchair innovator Mr Jared Mcintyre says through his journey with the wheelchair rugby club and frustration of cost of equipment he was motivated enough to look for solutions that will benefit future disabled participants in the sport. Mcintyre was speaking at the World Intellectual Property Day celebrations hosted in Bloemfontein, Free State.

The event targeted the general public, youth, academics, small businesses, legal fraternity and government departments involved in the field of intellectual property.

Mcintyre, who suffered a spinal injury after diving into a lake while he was studying for a Business Management qualification at the Central University of Technology (CUT) said it was during this time that he came up with an idea to manufacture cost effective rugby wheelchairs that will move the sport forward in South Africa.

I approached the CUT to manufacture these rugby wheelchairs at an affordable price that can be made accessible to anyone who had interest in the sport. We then trained two guys who were able to increase the volume and then commercialise, and adapted our manufacturing process to suit children with disabilities and adults who previously had limited participation in the sport, said Mcintyre.

Mcintyre added that he was in the process of registering intellectual property for the rugby wheelchair manufacturing process.

Out of frustration I found a solution that ended up benefiting a lot of people and they are so many ideas out there that people think that are so small and insignificant but actually something like a small idea might be able to change a community or might be able to change someone’s life. I will encourage people not to think of their ideas as insignificant or small but that they should pursue their dream and vision, he said.

The Senior Manager for Copyrights at the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, Mr Kadi Petje said this year the Intellectual Property Day celebration was successful in pursuing government mandate of educating learners and innovators about Intellectual Property rights and systems.

The school learners also tasted intellectual property flavour from a variety of partners which gave them a value for their participation. There was also a reflection on intellectual property and its socio economic importance in our daily lives and also the introductory provision responding to technological evolution so that our laws remain relevant to digital platforms, said Petje.

Issued by the dti in partnership with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, Department of Science and Technology, Central University of Technology, National Intellectual Property Management Office, Small Enterprise Development Agency, Free State Development Corporation, Technology Innovation Agency and The Innovation Hub.

Source: Department of Trade and Industry

Deputy Minister Sindiswe Chikunga invites media to SANRAL services programme in Edumbe, 1 May

Transport Deputy Minister takes SANRAL services to Edumbe

The Deputy Minister of Transport Sindiswe Chikunga invites members of the media join her during the flagship programme, Taking SANRAL to the People, to be held in eDumbe,Paulpietersburg, KwaZulu-Natal.

The programme promotes dialogue between SANRAL, which is the agency of the Department of Transport, different spheres of government, business, traditional leadership, communities, and other key stakeholders that are beneficiaries and are affected by SANRAL’s projects.

Taking SANRAL to the People programme shares information about the agency’s continued role in road infrastructure development, and seeks to engage affected stakeholders in a dialogue on issues of mutual interest.

Deputy Minister of Transport will also hold a road safety imbizo with the community of eDumbe in order to promote the Department’s 365-road safety awareness campaign.

Source: Government of South Africa