UKZN Academic and Scientist Elected Vice-Chair of Adult and Child Lung Health Section

Paediatric pulmonologist, researcher and Head of the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health at UKZN Professor Refiloe Masekela has been elected Vice-Chair of the Adult and Child Lung Health Section (ACLH) by the International Union against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

The union, established in 1920 as the first of its kind, has been instrumental over the years in guiding global policy and research agenda around TB and lung health.

The ACLH has a five-year strategy to achieve improved lung health, with priorities being asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), child pneumonia, post-TB lung disease and environmental risk factors for lung disease.

Said Masekela: ‘It is an honour to be elected Vice-Chair of the ACLH and I hope to make a meaningful input and give a voice to Africa on the global lung health table. Addressing lung health issues across the life course from the intra-uterine period to old age is critical if we are to tackle non-communicable lung diseases and improve lives. As the Vice-Chair of the Adult and Lung Health Section, our focus will be on lung health priorities more so in low to middle-income countries. We will input into the conference agenda, share research and grow the network to improve lung health for the most vulnerable in society.”

Her term of office commences during the annual World Conference on Lung Health in October this year.

Masekela obtained her undergraduate medical degree at Wits, completing her specialist paediatrics training at the University of Pretoria and her Fellowship in Paediatric Pulmonology at the Catholic University in Leuven in Belgium and the University of Pretoria.

Her research interests are bronchiectasis in children – both in HIV- infected children as well as in cystic fibrosis cases. She also has an interest in lung physiological testing, particularly lung function testing in children and the determination of normative lung reference equations in African children and adults.

She has published in peer-reviewed publications and written three book chapters on respiratory diseases in children. She has presented her research and given invited lectures at national and international pulmonology congresses, and is a passionate teacher who has been involved in both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, supervising 13 masters students to graduation. She is an NRF C3-rated researcher and has acted as a reviewer for local paediatric and pulmonology journals and masters and doctoral theses.

Words: Lihle Sosibo

Photograph: Supplied