The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery consists of 7 units:
Outpatients service in the orthopaedic surgery is provided through 10 clinics and a 24 hour emergency clinic ("orthopaedic pit"). During the previous year the department's workload increased by more than 10% compared with the previous year. Orthopaedic service delivery in the surgical theatres was seriously crippled by breakdown of essential power instruments and X-Ray image intensifiers. Thanks to the enormous efforts of Dr F Benganga, senior superintendent, and Mrs M Makhetha, theatre matron, this essential theatre equipment has been improved. However, far from optimal are the infrastructure and equipment in the orthopaedic wards, out-patient department and casualty.
The total number of orthopaedic beds was 320. There were 7'382 in-patients treated in orthopaedic wards. More than 60% of the in-patients were treated for orthopaedic trauma. Major orthopaedic procedures, performed in the JD Allen Theatres, amounted to 4'606. There were 3'420 minor procedures done in Casualty Theatre. Participation of the department in the treatment of patients with polytrauma constitutes a substantial amount of the emergency workload. The total number of out-patient consultations was 83'210 including more than 6'000 POP cast applications.
Postgraduate teaching is an important function of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. The training of registrars on rotation between all academic units is continuously implemented. However, postgraduate teaching is seriously compromised by excessive workloads, particularly in the emergency services.
There are several clinical research projects going on in the surgical treatment of cerebral palsy, congenital talipes equinovarus, Blount's disease, joint tuberculosis in children, idiopathic chondrolysis of the hip, acetabular fractures and fracture fixation implants in HIV patients.
A high quality orthopaedic service, combined with academic obligations to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, is the primary commitment of the department. This can only happen if the morale of clinical staff and hospital infrastructure are optimal.
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