South African Thoracic Society


Our history

19 August 2013 saw the launch of the Assembly on Interventional Pulmonology (IP) of the South African Thoracic Society or in short “Interventional Pulmonology South Africa” or “IPSA”. Interventional pulmonology is still in its infancy in South Africa. AT the time, there were less than 20 Pulmonologists skilled in interventional pulmonology in the county. Many of the major training centres started acquiring new state-of-the-art endoscopy equipment, but a critical mass of skilled mentors and training programs were lacking. We therefore believed that the time came for a dedicated assembly to address these needs. Moreover, there is an international trend toward unifying the discipline and to exchange knowledge and training. The World Association of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology (WABIP) and European Association of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology (EABIP) are two examples of relatively recently formed multinational societies.

IPSA functions as an autonomous assembly within SATS. The SATS council agreed to recognise the autonomy of IPSA with regards to the election of an executive council, financial administration (including the administration of grants and sponsorships from industry) and educational programs (including symposia and training courses). IPSA is subjected to an annual independent financial audit as part of the SATS audit. All IPSA members remain active SATS members (both entities will charge separate membership fees). IPSA is also allowed one ex-officio member on the SATS council.

The first general meeting was held on the 19th of August 2013 (Stellenbosch University Medical School). The purpose of this meeting was to discuss, amend and accept a proposed constitution and to elect an executive committee. The constitution was accepted by all present, and an executive committee was elected. The following council members were elected:

  • Chairman: Coenie Koegelenberg
  • Secretary: Florian von Groote-Bidlingmaier
  • Treasurer: Willie Bruwer
  • Private Practice Representative: Johan Theron
  • Paediatric Pulmonology Representative: Pierre Goussard
  • National Liaison Officer: Brian Allwood
  • Member-at-Large: Keertan Dheda

We believe that this assembly will ultimately improve the quality of interventional pulmonology in South Africa and that it will unify the few local experts. The IPSA office is currently be based in Cape Town (purely for logistical reasons), but we will strive to be a truly national society.

IPSA has held three annual courses thus far focusing on general interventional pulmonology (2014), bronchoscopy, including EBUS-TBNA (2015) and more recently transthoracic ultrasonography (2016).

Our main missions are:

  • Access to basic IP in every major centre in South Africa
  • Establish a platform for IP training / capacity building and retention
  • Assisting with negations with department of health and health insurers

What are the advantages of becoming an IPSA member?

  • IPSA is affiliated with WABIP (World Association of Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology), and all members have on-line access to the journal Respirology
  • Members are eligible for reduced fees for both national (IPSA) and international (WABIP) interventional pulmonology courses