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Chemical Pathology

The division provides teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and involves an integration of laboratory and clinical medicine with good opportunities to participate in clinical research. We also provide diagnostic laboratory services to Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic and Chris Hani Baragwananth Hospitals. 

Our mission is to conduct research and provide diagnostic services in chemical pathology to the public and private sector, and to teach and train medical technologists, medical technicians, pathologists and medical scientists who will be able to make a significant contribution in the field of chemical pathology in South Africa.

The routine Chemical Pathology laboratories are housed in the Johannesburg Hospital and the Wits Medical School. They are split into three sections: the main automated laboratory, the special chemistry laboratories and the development laboratory. These units provide a laboratory service not only to the Johannesburg Hospital but to any clinician within Johannesburg or surrounding areas who requires it. National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) laboratories are also situated at the Chris Hani-Baragwanath and the Helen Joseph Hospital as well as in all other provinces of South Africa and therefore constitute the only nation-wide pathology service.

The tests carried out range from the quantification of blood selenium levels to the detection of occult faecal blood. Such a wide variety of tests require that the staff are proficient in a vast number of different laboratory techniques. The development lab was set up to develop new analytical tests using atomic absorption spectrophotometry, HPLC technology and mass spectrometry. Such analyses are used for measuring metal ions, amino acids, catecholamines and drugs. The quality of the service depends on rigorous quality control of all the assays performed by participation in several external quality control programs as well as inter-assay and intra-assay quality control procedures.

The Day Ward is situated in the Medical School where dynamic function tests are carried out to assist in the investigation of a number of diseases e.g. type II diabetes, diabetes insipidus, Addison s disease, short stature and hypothyroidism.