Dr Lebogang Pahladira, specialist psychiatrist, senior lecturer, Stellenbosch University

Monday 15 January 1.00 pm COURSE FEES R110; Staff and students R55

Recognised as an emerging leader at the National Health Awards in 2018, Dr Pahladira was born and raised in a Limpopo family that had very little, attending school on a farm. He completed a MBChB degree after which he did postgraduate training in psychiatry. The knowledge gaps in the long-term trajectory of schizophrenia in low- and middle-income countries motivated him to pursue a PhD to investigate factors related to acute, medium-, and long-term outcomes in a unique cohort of first episode schizophrenia. After talking about his journey to becoming a psychiatrist, Dr Pahladira will discuss his work in schizophrenia, which is a chronic and disabling illness and one of the major contributors to the global disease burden.

WhiLst there is considerable data on the course and outcome of this illness from developed countries, there is a gap in knowledge about low- and middle-income countries. The unique cultural, ethnic, and economic circumstances and pathways to care for mental disorders in different settings underline the importance of such studies. Early intervention services have provided encouraging results. These have, to some degree, challenged common opinions on the treatment of schizophrenia insofar as effective early intervention has been proposed as the key to changing the course of the illness. In Africa, very little has been published concerning the effect of early intervention on the long-term outcome of schizophrenia. Historically, long-acting injectable antipsychotics (LAIs) were seldom considered options during a first episode of psychosis, but data from recent studies support their use at first break of psychosis. LAIs have had a positive effect on adherence with resultant reduced relapse rates and increased remission rates, signalling a new way to treat this illness in resource-poor settings.