Support. Hope. Advocacy. Research. Education.

Established in 2018, The Axial Spondyloarthritis Association of South Africa aims to create awareness, education and support of this disease in South Africa.

ABOUT ASASA

WHO WE ARE

We are a patient driven organisation. Born out of the need for a support group that focusses on axSpA in South Africa. Medical and emotional support is crucial managing axSpA. 

OUR VISION

To be the primary resource for people diagnosed and living with axSpA & related diseases in South Africa.

We want to ensure that every person with AxSpA  receives timely diagnosis and effective treatment and care, is empowered to take decisions about their health, and feels part of a supportive AxSpA community.

OUR MISSION

Create awareness of axSpA & related diseases in order to ease the path to diagnosis.

We aim to empower everyone with axial spondyloarthritis (axial SpA) including ankylosing spondylitis (AS) to manage their treatment and to stay in control of their lives. 

We are driven to ensure that health professionals around the country deliver tailored and timely care to every patient, every time.

We want to give axSpA a voice in South Africa. 
AIMS OF ASASA

Create awareness of Ankylosing Spondylitis & related diseases in order to ease the path to diagnosis.

Membership

Membership is free! Join forces with the many who are making a difference for AxSpa in South Africa.


Our members are contributing to the impact of our organization in terrific ways, don’t miss out on being involved in our organization. If you’re living with AxSpA or have a loved one who is, or have an interest in AxspA, become a member today.


Collective voice: By becoming a member you add to our collective voice in advocating for those living with Spondyloarthritis. You will also join a community of people who know and understand your condition. The understanding, community and connectivity that you receive in being a part of a community that feels your struggles and pain along side you, has benefits that cannot be measured.

Membership to this association is FREE of charge

Reasons to Join

You can also join our Facebook group:

Our Team

Maranda van Dam - Chairperson

Maranda is the current chairperson and has overall responsibility for the management of ASASA. 

She was diagnosed with AxSpa in 2016, after walking the frustrating path of a delay in her diagnosis of almost 6 years. At the time of her diagnosis, she tried to reach out to a support group, and then realised there is a huge void to fill. She has since become an advocate for this disease.

Not only is she a business owner, but also a single parent to two boys. In her spare time she likes riding adventure bikes. She has recently completed a gruelling trip with her motorbike for 3 weeks in the Himalayas. She enjoys an active lifestyle that includes riding her mountainbike, playing tennis and pilates.

Lauren Angelil - Vice Chairperson

Lauren Kim Angelil is a registered physiotherapist, and certified functional health coach. She is the current vice-chairperson of ASASA. 

About 7 years ago, her husband was diagnosed with AS. She watched him go through joint pain, stress and anxiety, exhaustion and loss of appetite. Her once life-of-the-party partner was retreating from social events and stopped doing the things he enjoyed.

They quickly noticed the benefits of making lifestyle changes in partnership with his medication: his energy improved, he was able to exercise without pain, his insomnia disappeared and, finally, felt refreshed each morning. 

Fast forward 4 years, he is now in remission, off his chronic meds and they are back to doing the sport they love, trail running!

Our Medical Advisors

Dr Gareth Tarr - Physician Rheumatologist

Following the completion of my undergraduate training at the University of Witwatersrand (WITS), I completed my internship at GF Jooste in Cape Town, and then my community service year working at a rural hospital in Mpumalanga.

While away from the majors cities I was also able to follow my other passions in life, birding and the outdoors.
I returned to WITS between 2008 and 2013, and qualified in internal medicine as a physician, then as a rheumatologist and graduated with a Masters in Internal medicine.

Since 2014 I have been part of Winelands Rheumatology Centre and working as a specialist physician for Stellenbosch Medi-Clinic.

Currently involved in my PhD research through the University of Stellenbosch focusing on Biologic medication in the South African setting.

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Prof Chris Scott - Associate Professor Paediatric Rheumatologist

Developing ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis, as a child piqued  Christiaan Scott’s interest in paediatrics. After studying medicine at the University of the Free State and graduating at the University of Cape Town, he worked in paediatrics in Guildford and other London hospitals and then came back to complete his training at the Red Cross Hospital in Cape Town.

There was no training programme for paediatric rheumatology in South Africa and no registered paediatric rheumatologists, so he spent a year in Leuven, Belgium, on a Discovery Foundation scholarship in 2008 and time in Genoa, Italy, supported by funding from the Arthritis Foundation and the South African Rheumatism and Arthritis Foundation. When he returned to South Africa, the Red Cross Hospital created a post for him with a dedicated paediatric rheumatology component.

Scott is now one of only 10 paediatric rheumatologists in South Africa, with a special interest in juvenile arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosis. He teaches paediatrics and rheumatology to medical students and advocates children’s rights and equal access to healthcare. He has trained 6 Paedatric Rheumatologists since 2009 and is the current co-chair of the PReS Global Health Task Force.

He is also part of a research team that collaborates with a number of universities across the world and studies various types of rheumatic diseases and their management in Africa, with a special focus on how they affect children in South Africa. He has a special interest in Fibrodysplasia Ossificans Progressiva. And if his small patients are looking for proof that juvenile arthritis can be contained, he’s climbed Kilimanjaro, cycled from Brussels to Paris (and Copenhagen) and goes in for long distance trail running.

Assoc Prof. Chris Scott. Christiaan Scott is a Paediatric Rheumatologist at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital

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Dr Ajesh Maharaj - Consultant Physician/ Consultant Rheumatologist

Ajesh Maharaj is a rheumatologist practicing at Westville Hospital in Durban, South Africa. He is a past-president of the Kwa-Zulu Natal branch of the Arthritis Foundation of South Africa and on the Advisory Boards of Pfizer, AbbVie, and Novartis South Africa on their biologics division.

He is widely published in international peer-reviewed journals. He has presented at numerous local and international conferences.

Dr Maharaj obtained his PhD in psoriatic arthritis (PsA) through the Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and is a leading expert in PsA in South Africa and on the African continent. He is a fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa.

He is on the following International committees:

  • Group for Research and Assessment for Psoriasis and Psoriatic Arthritis (GRAPPA);(Delete “International “)
  • American College of Rheumatology (ACR)/EULAR guideline committee on polymyalgia rheumatica;
  • International League of Associations of Rheumatology (ILAR) committee on drawing up recommendations for the treatment of psoriatic arthritis in resource-poor settings;
  • Assessment of Spondyloarthritis International Society (ASAS);
  • Member of International Psoriasis and Arthritis Research Team (iPART); and
  • Fellow of the ACR.

Dr Maharaj has the following awards:           

  • United Nations Scholarship (UNESCO) to study Medicine in 1981;
  • Y K SEEDAT Medal of The College of Physicians of South Africa for the best candidate in The Higher Diploma in Internal Medicine in 1998;
  • Pharmacia/Pfizer Rheumatology Travel Scholarship for South Africa for 2002; and
  • Recipient of the Uttar Pradesh Pravasi Bharatiya Ratna Award 2017, Government of Uttar Pradesh, India (Highest civilian award in the state).
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Dr Cathy Spargo - Rheumatologist

Qualifications: MBChB, FCP, Cert Rheumatology.

Dr Catherine Spargo studied medicine at the University of Cape Town  before qualifying as a specialist rheumatologist at the College of Medicine South Africa.

Dr Spargo has worked at a number of hospitals both locally and internationally, including Ernest Oppenheimer in Welkom, Derriford Hospital in England, and Groote Schuur in Cape Town. She currently works as a rheumatologist and physician in Pinelands, Cape Town.

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Corne van Eck - Physiotherapist

BPhysT. (Physiotherapy) (Cum Laude), 1996

B Admin (International Relations), 1992

Corne has her own practice in the Garden Route. Gaining international experience in the US for many years. She has written a number of publications and is the author of many educational courses. Through the years she been a guest speaker in areas covering Lymphedema, The Lumbar Spine, The Cervical Spine and Peripheral Edema. 

Corne is furthermore a member of SASP Committee member Southern Cape Branch, South African Society of Physiotherapy (SASP), Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists (FAAOMPT) , Lymphedema Association of South Africa (LAOSA), APTA 2005-2008

 

Corne has hands-on experience with AxSpa patients.

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Prof Bridget Hodkinson - Associate Professor Paediatric Rheumatologist

Professor Bridget Hodkinson is the head of Rheumatology at Groote Schuur Hospital, University of Cape Town. This busy rheumatology unit, together with Tygerberg Hospital, services the Western Cape, dealing with a wide range of conditions including inflammatory arthritis, SLE, gout, osteoarthritis and HIV- associated conditions. The unit is active in teaching undergraduate students, family physicians and primary healthcare practitioners, and trains rheumatology fellows from all over Africa. Her research interests in gout, systemic lupus erythematosus and inflammatory arthritis include health related quality of life, comorbidities- particularly TB and HIV, management strategies where limited access to biologic therapies are available, and patient activation and patient advocacy. She has a strong interest in implementing evidence- based approaches to patient care within a resource constrained environment. Prof Hodkinson serves on the South African Arthritis and Rheumatology Association SARAA Executive Committee.

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Associations

ASIF is an international membership organisation representing patient associations around the globe specialising in the support of patients with Axial Spondyloarthritis (axSpA)

SARAA is the national medical society for specialist rheumatologists and other health professionals involved in the care of patients with rheumatic diseases. It is a public benefit organisation, registered as a non-profit organisation which represents the rheumatology profession of South Africa.

The Arthritis Foundation of South Africa is the only body in our country providing non-medical support for arthritis patients, their families and carers. To do this we are involved in a wide range of education and support programmes, in providing access to information about these diseases, and by advocating the interests of people with arthritis in government, medical and media circles.

The SASP is a voluntary professional membership organisation committed to equal opportunities and inclusivity, and striving to support the demographic profile of South Africa in terms of race and gender.

Arthritis Kids SA is a registered non-profit company aimed at ensuring no South African child suffers preventable pain from undiagnosed or untreated juvenile arthritis.

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