New hydrophilic catheter on the block

ConvaTec launched the GentleCath Glide hydrophilic catheter in South Africa, which is now available from its distribution partner Umsinsi Health Care. With less mess, more comfort and improved safety, the GentleCath Glide is a must-have.

ConvaTec, established in 1978, is a developer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative medical products. The company supplies products for wound care, ostomy care, continence, critical care and infusion devices. Mark Warren, distribution manager in sub-Saharan Africa, notes: “ConvaTec is active in more than 100 countries, with 8 500 employees sharing the same goal of improving the lives of the people they touch.

The Umsinsi team is a big family that has never benefited from BEE despite being 70 percent black owned. “We wanted to show that transformation can happen because you want change,” says Wilde. Umsinsi Health Care will celebrate its ten-year anniversary this year.

“ConvaTec products are distributed through our marketing and distribution partner Umsinsi Heath Care, which is based in Modderfontein, Johannesburg, with dedicated team members located all over South Africa.”

Umsinsi Health Care is run by former ConvaTec employee Amanda Wilde, who relocated from the UK and set up shop in South Africa in 2008 as managing director.

Wilde explains: “I fell in love with South Africa and decided to move here to evaluate, establish and run the South Africa business in 2008. Umsinsi is my favourite tree (Erythrina Lysistemon). The tree is deeply symbolic in Zulu and Xhosa culture, and is dubbed the ‘respect’ tree. It is also used in modern and traditional medicine.”

Umsinsi Health Care offers a wide range of products, including the GentleCath Glide, as the official distribution partners of ConvaTec in South Africa.

She points out that Umsinsi is not a typical healthcare distributor.

“We would describe ourselves as a social enterprise in fairness and reconciliation, which is powered by a commercial business in loving skin, all over the country. Our team is primarily dedicated to training and education, particularly in the public sector, where 70 percent of our business is based and skills are short,” Wilde says.

GentleCath Glide has a smooth, slippery surface once wet, notes Warren, which reduces the risk of urethral damage, as it causes less friction, and is designed for fast, convenient catherisation.

Umsinsi Health Care is named after the Umsinsi tree, which has cultural significance in South Africa and is used in traditional and modern medicine.

“It has a handling sleeve to help you avoid getting bacteria from your hands on the catheter surface,” he says. “The FeelClean Technology provides a smooth slippery surface with fast lubrication once wetted. It is designed to reduce the residuals and mess that catherisation may leave on your clothes, hands and body.

In a recent study, GentleCath Glide was rated as “very comfortable” or “comfortable” by more than 85 percent of users; while 87 percent of users rated GentleCath Glide with FeelClean Technology as better than their usual catheter in terms of cleanliness,” Warren says.

The GentleCath Glide can be ordered online through the Umsinsi Health Care website www.uhcare.co.za or by phoning 0861 888 842. Delivery to a home or work address is free and payment can be made with a debit or credit card or, alternatively, through Discovery medical aid.

“The easiest way is via the website with free delivery. Just choose the size you want, add to the cart, and check out. Umsinsi Health Care is also offering a complimentary travel pack on your first order while stocks last,” Warren says.

The GentleCath Glide is available in male and female lengths of ten, 12, 14 and 16, with other options to be made available soon. A pack of 30 GentleCath Glide catheters costs R695,75 from the Umsinsi website.

Single-use catheters rule

When a well-respected publication concluded that catheters could be reused without an increased risk of infection, Dr Andrei Krassioukov, a professor of medicine at the University of British Columbia, was not convinced. He had spoken to wheelchair athletes about this very issue while working at the Summer Paralympics in London.

“Wheelchair athletes from wealthier countries only use a catheter once, while athletes from developing countries would reuse their catheters. The athletes who used catheters only once experienced fewer urinary tract infections (UTIs),” Krassioukov explained.

The issue of reusing catheters has long been debated, especially since the cost of a catheter can go up to a few hundred rands, making single-use catherization expensive. In some countries, like France, it is illegal to reuse catheters. In other places, countries cannot afford to cover the costs of single-use catheters.

“Until evidence can confidently demonstrate that multiple use is as safe as single use, healthcare providers should advocate for single-use catheters,” said Krassioukov.

Ari Seirlis, CEO of QASA, notes: “For many years, I reused catheters. This came with numerous bladder infections. Since using single-use catheters, I have not had a bladder infection in at least the last three years.”

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