The Division provide lectures on Rheumatology to undergraduate medical students in their clinical years. We also provide teaching on rheumatic diseases to medical registrars, most of whom spend a period attached to our division at some stage of their training.
Clinical staff undertake regular outreach teaching activities including lectures and seminars on rheumatic diseases to health professionals at local and national level.
Rheumatological diseases constitute a major health problem due to their high prevalence and their association with significant morbidity, making a considerable social and economic impact. Multiple aspects of these disorders remain challenging, particularly on the African continent where little data exists and we face resource constrains and poor infrastructure together with unique challenges like endemic tuberculosis and HIV. The Division of Rheumatology will aim to answer this long overdue need. The focus is to study pathophysiology and treatment of rheumatic disorders in a developing country setting such as South Africa. Rheumatic disorders develop insidiously and have a heterogeneous disease course with pain and loss of function. The overall aim of the unit is to integrate patient care and research to increase understanding and thereby improving patient care.
The purpose of our research is to achieve a better understanding of pathogenesis and thereby improving care and treatment of patients with rheumatic disorders. Strategically we have chosen for an integrated approach of patient care and science with an interdisciplinary approach. The purpose is to better understand pathogenesis, which subsequently will lead to improvement of patient care.
Research in the unit is organized by dedicated subgroups:
- Pathophysiology, outcome and treatment strategies of rheumatoid arthritis
- Risk factors and treatment strategies of TB in patients with RA
- Outcome and treatment strategies of systemic sclerosis
- Outcome and treatment of SLE, including assessment and imaging of cardiovascular complications
Rheumatology clinics for new patients are held on Monday and Thursday mornings at Groote Schuur Hospital. Clinics for follow-up of patients with established rheumatic disease are held on Monday afternoon and Friday mornings. A Lupus clinic is held on Tuesday mornings.
We admit patients to our own beds or the Department of Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital for the diagnosis and management of rheumatic diseases.
We provide clinical advice and assistance with the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic illnesses to our colleagues in Groote Schuur hospital and its associated district hospitals and the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital.