The allergy and asthma clinic provides a tertiary level diagnostic and treatment service for thousands of children each year. While the vast majority of patients attending the clinic come from the Western Cape, a significant number from the other provinces are also seen. By far the largest numbers of children seen are from disadvantaged backgrounds. Considerable emphasis is laid on patient and parent education in the clinic. This has resulted in much improved understanding by parents of the nature of the problem facing their children and the need for regular medication.
The spectrum of allergic diseases has changed, with less minor allergic diseases (isolated allergic rhinitis, mild asthma, eczema and urticaria) and more complex cases, particularly food allergy and anaphylaxis comprising a much higher number of consultations. Adverse reaction to drugs is emerging as a significant problem requiring evaluation of these drug reactions, challenges and desensitization.
Collaborations with other divisions/services including gastroenterology, dietetics, dermatology, pulmonology, ophthalmology, ENT and infectious diseases are well established.
Clinical teaching is provided to fifth year medical students assigned to the Paediatric Block. Bedside tutorials are provided regularly to student interns. The clinical educator holds sessions on practical aspects of allergy diagnosis and treatment for 5th year medical students.
Prof Levin is responsible for training of the Allergy Senior Registrar as a specialist in Allergology, as well as additional subspecialist trainees funded via the African Paeditric Fellowship Programme. General paediatric registrars rotates through allergy to receive appropriate training in this discipline. He also lectures on allergy-related topics to medical officers preparing for the Diploma in Child Health (2 lectures/year) and Fellowship in Paediatrics (1-2 lecture/year). Training is also provided for allergy diagnosis, management and procedures for candidates preparing for the Diploma in Allergology.
Major Research projects (completed/in progress)
The SAFFA (South African Food sensitisation and Food Allergy) study
Associations and mechanisms of protection against allergy in rural African children
Clinical features and mechanisms of alpha-gal allergy
IgE-mediated food allergy in South African children with atopic dermatitis
Associations between Asthma and Bronchial Hyper-responsiveness with Allergy and Atopy Phenotypes and Genetic polymorphisms in Urban Black South African Teenagers.
Resources for medical and allied health professionals
Online training in allergy is available on request via Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org. To join our mailing list for the Allergy in Africa webinar series and other allergy related educational activities email email@example.com
Patient support: The Allergy Foundation of South Africa promotes quality of care and quality of life for patients suffering from allergy and immune deficient diseases. Patient information, educational materials, newsletters and blogs are available at www.allergyfoundation.co.za. The facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/SAallergy
A list of medical professionals with interest and experience in allergy is available online. The Seal of Approval programme lets you know the product has been scientifically tested to prove it is efficient at reducing or removing allergens from the environment or the products have significantly reduced allergen or chemical content.