POSITION STATEMENT OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN THORACIC SOCIETY: RESEARCH FUNDING FROM THE ‘FOUNDATION FOR A SMOKE FREE WORLD’
The South African Thoracic Society (SATS) is a professional society dedicated to the promotion of lung health in South Africa and Africa through education, training, research and advocacy.
Tobacco smoking results in over 7 million avoidable deaths annually and approximately 10% of all deaths in South Africa are attributed to tobacco smoking. The South African Thoracic Society along with the American Thoracic (ATS) and European Respiratory Societies (ERS) has previously established policies to not accept funding from tobacco companies. The Society views organisations/ institutions that are funded by tobacco industry money in the equivalent light. Thus, to accept funding, directly or indirectly, from a tobacco entity is counter to our mandate to promote lung health.
This position is aligned with that of the ATS and ERS and as such the “Foundation for a Smoke Free World”, established by Phillip Morris with expected tobacco industry funding of over $80 million, is considered to be tobacco company funded, even though it professes to be free of influence from the tobacco industry.
We as a Society will not accept research funding or other support, directly or indirectly, from any tobacco company source and strongly encourage our members and colleagues to follow suit. The South African Thoracic Society, like the American Thoracic and European Respiratory Society, will not allow publication or presentation of any research funded directly or indirectly by the tobacco industry at its meetings or in its journals.
INCOMING STATEMENT OF THE SATS PRESIDENT 2017 TO 2019
I would like to thank my predecessors including Professor Lalloo and others, for their excellent leadership of SATS over the last few years. This has stood the Society in good stead but there are many challenges that SATS faces over the next decade.
There are several priority areas that I would like to give attention to over the next couple of years.
As outlined in the SATS 2017 Conference, there is a major crisis in pulmonary medicine. This includes collapse of academic units nationwide, the lack of training posts, and funding for teaching and training of nascent pulmonologists. SATS will have to play greater role in engaging stakeholders to address these concerns. Another major problem is increasing lack of access to basic and newer respiratory drugs with proven benefit. In this regard, I will, on behalf of SATS, be engaging with the relevant stakeholders.
Another major priority is to facilitate greater involvement of newly qualified pulmonologists and junior faculty who are the lifeblood of the Society. An unmet need is further engagement with the pulmonologists from the private sector. We are very small community and we have to hold hands together to confront the threats and challenges faced by pulmonologists. I will also, together with Council, take steps to address the financial position of SATS. We need to investigate alternative models, other than raising funds through conferences, to remain sustainable. SATS will be developing a policy on continuing on CME nationally, and will also adopt policies with regards to the changing landscape of education and managing conflicts of interest.
The South African Respiratory Journal has done well under my leadership as the Chief Editor but, together with the editorial board, we now need to take the Journal to a new level. Plans over the next year will include PubMed accreditation. The aim is also, with Council’s approval and after consultation with relevant stakeholders, to launch the African Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine so that we have a continental platform, which we can advance lung health of the country and continent as a whole.
Nevertheless, if the research presentations at the 2017 SATS congress are anything to go by, we should rightfully be reassured and enthused by the emerging cadre of extremely bright and energetic individuals who will be the future leaders of our Society. I enthusiastically look forward to working with Council, and all of you, to address these challenges over the next 2 years.
Professor Keertan Dheda
President: South African Thoracic Society
CITATION OF LATE PROFESSOR ABOLADE AJANI AWOTEDU
I write this citation as a long-term acquaintance, friend and working colleague of the late Professor Abolade Ajani Awotedu who passed into Eternal Glory of the Lord on Wednesday, the 26th of July, 2017 at the Donald Gordon Medical Center, Johannesburg, South Africa. It is a great honour for me to be asked to do this. I have known him since our younger days in the Medical School at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Medical Residency Training Programme at the University College Hospital, Ibadan, Nigeria; early Consultant life at Ibadan, and much later days as a working colleague at the Walter Sisulu University and the Nelson Mandela Academic Hospital, Mthatha, South Africa.