Helping comrades over the social upliftment line

Chris Bateman


If the University of Cape Town’s Lung Institute was a long-distance runner it would have the capacity to consistently outstrip many other peer research outfits in the country, garnering marathon medals by the fist-full.
The trouble is, despite its impressive international and local achievements, the fully autonomous institute has relatively few domestic peers – a tragic fact that scientific and business leaders are belatedly noticing, generating a faint new ray of hope. A recent study on clinical research and related training in South Africa by 13 of the country’s top scientists concluded that internal disinvestment by government agencies is threatening to kill clinical research.1 It is within this context that a far-sighted Professor Eric Bateman managed to convince the then Dean of Medicine, Professor JP van Niekerk and Vice-Chancellor of UCT, Dr Mamphele Ramphele, to build with mainly outside funding (Boehringer Ingleheim 80% plus Bateman’s own research-generated ‘nest egg’ funds), an ‘experimental’ stand-alone research facility. The aim was to take the study and management of lung diseases out of the highly specialised realm of hospital clinical services and render them relevant to every aspect of the problem: epidemiology, prevention, treatment and health system interventions, especially by engaging communities.

Author's affiliations

Chris Bateman, HMPG

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Lung Institute, TB, Lung health, applied research

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2011;101(6):374,376.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-05-04
Date published: 2011-05-25

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