CHILD Goals & Objectives

Goals & objectives of intended research

  • To promote clinical research and the translation of basic science into clinical research to improve diagnosis, prevention and management of specific priority childhood diseases that shape child health in South Africa with a focus on pneumonia, tuberculosis, HIV-associated lung diseases and chronic illnesses such as asthma.
  • To translate clinical evidence into population-level interventions to improve child health through primary health care and community initiatives that can be applied in diverse settings across the country and the continent, with a focus on priority illnesses.

Specific objectives

  • To expand and strengthen research and collaborations in child health to improve health in South Africa and the region.
  • To develop a translational, cutting edge research program focused on childhood diseases including national priorities such as pneumonia, HIV and TB.
  • To investigate the impact of early exposures including infectious diseases on child health and on the development of chronic disease.
  • To increase understanding of the risk factors, host responses and long term outcome of early childhood illness.
  • To enhance the health of children and adolescents by developing new strategies for diagnosis, management and prevention of diseases.
  • To provide a platform for the training of clinician scientists in child health.
  • To promote implementation of research findings into policy and practice.


The unit has a long history of involvement in advocacy for child health. Current contributions include guideline development and implementation, serving on national and international advisory boards for child health and involvement in initiatives concerned with raising the profile of child lung health.

Division highlights

Members of the division are involved in a wide range of paediatric pulmonology related activities. Professor Zar is the current President of the Pan African Thoracic Society and on the Forum of International Respiratory Societies. She was the first paediatrician to receive the World Lung Health award in 2014. Dr Zampoli is the current chair of the SA Cystic Fibrosis Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee and treasurer of the South African Pediatric Society (SAPA). Dr Vanker serves as the paediatric pulmonology representative on the South African Thoracic Society and Dr Gray a previous recipient of a Wellcome Trust Fellowship has been integral in developing infant lung function testing in South Africa.