Study Mission

Study Mission to South Africa
August 25 to September 2, 2013
Optional Excursion to Cape Town
September 2-6, 2013
Participants of the 2013 Study Mission and Excursion spent nearly 10 days in South Africa in late August and early September. During this program, participants increased their knowledge of the organizational structure and healthcare delivery systems of various critical care units in South Africa. Attendees visited hospitals representative of the country’s facilities and learned about the country and its rich history.

Visits to Local Private and Public Hospitals
Dr. Mervyn Mer led attendees on a tour of the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital, where they:
  • participated in clinical rounds, reviewing patient charts and radiographs, and discussing the diagnosis and treatment approaches in general adult and pediatric cardiothoracic, cardiac and trauma ICUs
  • visited infectious disease wards and a pulmonary function lab
  • inspected a state-of-the-art automatized clinical laboratory
  • listened to a presentation describing evidence-based and practical state-of-the-art issues related to tuberculosis in the ICU
  • toured the hospital’s museum, including an extensive display of iron lungs and other equipment as well as scientific document archives
Dr. Mer also led a tour through the Donald Gordon Medical Center and Milpark Hospital, two private Johannesburg hospitals that offer liver, lung and cardiac transplantations. Attendees explored comparisons of public and private hospitals, work force issues, the wide variability of trauma care, and prominent infectious diseases in South Africa.

Attendees also visited the Mduku Clinic Community Village in KwaZulu-Natal.  This 24-hour clinic offers general community healthcare, maternity care and baby delivery, and an AIDS clinic and support structure, which provides administration of, and education about, antiretroviral medication. The clinic’s director discussed the community public health focus necessary to their work, recounting one success story: the community malaria mortality rate declined after they got involved in improving the community’s water system.

2013 World Congress
Several attendees participated in the 2013 World Congress meeting in Durban.

Attendees toured various famous sites throughout South Africa, including the Groote Schuur Hospital and Transplant Museum, where the first heart transplant was performed by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in 1967. They also participated in sunrise and afternoon safaris through a 55,000-acre wildlife reserve, populated with buffalo, elephant, leopard, rhino, lion, and cheetahs.