The Wits Lung Lab brings high-tech to healing. 

Wits University has launched a high-tech facility that aims to provide a holistic approach to treating lung diseases and cancers. The  launch of the Wits Lung Laboratory at Johannesburg’s Helen Joseph Hospital was timed to coincide with World Lung Day on August 1, 2018.

The lab, funded by the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation and has been operating since January 2018, has partnered with the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital Respiratory department and the respiratory and medical Oncology departments at Charlotte Maxeke Academic Hospital.

Director of the lab, Dr Anita Graham, told Wits Vuvuzela that the main function of the facility, is to treat pulmonology-related diseases through state of the art techniques and equipment. The main focus will be on lung cancer, according to Graham, who added that lung cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths in males and the second leading cause in females globally.

“Our vision is to change the nihilistic and hopelessness attitude associated with lung cancer in the medical fraternity and the Gauteng community. To provide consistent, first world diagnosis, staging, management and palliative care to our most vulnerable and at risk community,” Graham said.

The launch was attended by the Gauteng MEC for health, Dr Gwen Ramakgopa, who said that it is a much needed facility to help with early detection and treatment.

“It can’t be business as usual. We need to push back the frontiers of illness and trauma in our communities. We shouldn’t just do this for the rich who can afford to be in oncology programmes and get incentives for buying healthy food. It must be for the benefits of all citizens in the country,” Ramakgopa added.

The lab comprises three consulting rooms, a counselling room, a fully equipped bronchoscopy suite with state-of-the-art equipment, a procedure room, a recovery room and a scrub room. Equipment includes, among others, the very first South African bronchoscopic cryoprobe, which is used to remove obstructions in the airway, according to the lab’s mission statement.

FEATURED IMAGE: The Wits Lung Lab at Helen Joseph Hospital aims to provide an improved approach to pulmonary diseases. Photo: Onke Ngcuka.