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Head of Division: Professor N.S. Levitt

Divisional Profile

The Division provides an inpatient and outpatient clinical service and sub-speciality training in adult endocrinology and diabetes.  It has close clinical links with Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Reproductive Endocrinology and Chemical pathology. We are currently training our first endocrinology senior registrar from Zambia, Dr Brown who has come to us as an experienced physician.


The Division is involved in a wide range of research activities, interacts with a number of international and local collaborators and is a member of the recently established Chronic Disease Initiative in Africa. The primary areas of research are:

Metabolic consequences of antiretroviral therapy in HIV+ patients: Cross-sectional and longitudinal studies examining the metabolic consequences of HAART are underway. These are being funded by the World Diabetes Foundation and Department of Health.

Burden of disease: The contribution of diabetes and other chronic diseases to the overall burden of disease pattern in the South African context is been studied in collaboration with Dr Debbie Bradshaw, BOD Group, MRC. A cross sectional survey of diabetes and other cardiovascular risk factors in the Black African community in Cape Town has been completed.

Obesity: In collaboration with the Department of Human Biology, a number of studies are in progress. These examine the mechanisms underlying the aetiology of obesity and insulin sensitivity in black and white African women.

Addison’s Disease: Cardiovascular risk factors in Addison’s disease has been investigated in collaboration with the University of Gothenberg. The impact of glucocorticoid receptor polymorphisms on cardiovascular risk factors has been assessed in Addison’s disease.

Health Systems Research: The Division collaborates in projects being conducted by the Chronic Diseases Initiative in Africa. These include: a pragmatic cluster randomised trial of an integrated guideline for the management of diabetes and other chronic diseases is in primary care centre, a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of a group diabetic education programme using motivational interviewing in underserved communities; and the development of a resource package for primary health care providers and community health workers to enable them to offer brief counselling on lifestyle.


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