n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Lymphoedema management therapists on service provision of secondary lymphoedema in South Africa : quality of care

Supplement 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


A frequently occurring, problematic, and debilitating condition for people following cancer treatment is secondary lymphoedema, a chronic medical condition caused by lymphatic fluid accumulation, resulting in persistent and progressive swelling in one or more areas of the body. The current status of service provision for management and the magnitude of secondary lymphoedema in South Africa are not known. This study made use of a descriptive cross-sectional online survey to assess the management of and service provision for secondary lymphoedema as provided by lymphoedema management therapists from both the public and private sector in all provinces of South Africa. The preliminary analysed data include responses from 45 lymphoedema management therapists from five provinces in South Africa. Most of the respondents (46.7%) had a professional educational background in occupational therapy and 35.6% in physiotherapy. Most of the respondents (76.6%) were from the private sector and (24.4%) provided services in the public sector. There were no respondents from rural areas. Of the respondents 84.40% reported that they had completed a 135-hour training course on lymphoedema treatment and management. The most common treatment given to patients was complete decongestive therapy inclusive of manual lymphatic drainage, compression bandaging, compression garment fitting, and skin care. Preliminary results provide a picture of unequal distribution of services between the health sectors as well as between urban and rural areas.

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