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Complete Decongestive Therapy Course

The Centre for Teaching and Learning Scholarship, University of the Western Cape in conjunction with the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy, University of Missouri-Columbia, offers a course on Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)

Globally lymphedema is regarded as a chronic condition, that may arise at any stage in the lifespan of individuals. Lymphedema is an accumulation of lymph fliud in the tissues and manifests as a swelling most commonly of the limbs.

Primary lymohedema may be due to genetic factors. Secondary lymphedema is caused by external factors such as surgery, infection, trauma, cancer and cancer treatment.

South Africa has the second highest incidence of HIV and AIDS and a burgeoning incidence of cancer. These diseases may compromise the lymphatic system. Despite the increased incidence and morbidity of these diseases very few health practitioners have the clinical skill to identify those at riak of lymphedema or to manage the condition. Therefore the aim of this course is to enhance the skills of health practitioners in order for them to contribute to the reduction of lymphedema risk factors as well as to effectively manage the condition.

This course includes:

  •  Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)
  • Compression Bandaging
  • Self Care
  • Remedial Excercise

Purpose of course/course description:

Currently there is no course available in South Africa that addresses MLD and CDT. This course aims to cover that gap

Course Outcomes  

 At the end of the course you will be expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the lymphatic system
  • Know the indications and contra-indications of MLD and CDT
  • Be competent to apply MLD and CDT to patients suffering of primary or secondary lymphedema
  • Demonstrate competency in bandaging techniques for upper and lower extremities
  • Demonstrate an understanding in the importance of remedial lymphedema excercises and skin hygiene

Entry requirements 

Candidates need to be in possesion of an undergraduate degree or diploma in health or health related sciences or the social sciences, and/or several years of working experience in the treatment of patients with lymphedema. 

For further information please contact:

Course Convenor:
Ms S. Walker / +27 21 959 3482


Ms . Johannes / +27 21 959 2271 


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