South Africa

Local Chapter Leader Prof Hassina Mouri:, hmouri@uj.ac.za, Dept of Geology, Univ of Johan-nesburg, SA
Secretary: Shelembe Refilwe, rshelembe@geoscience.org.za

The SA chapter is only 9 months old, thus not much has happened so far. However, plans for the future are promising. Here is some information on what happened during 2012 and what is going to happen in the near future.

1) Conferences attended by chapter members: IGC 34 – Brisbane:
Hassina Mouri and her PhD student Refilwe Shelembi attended the IGC 34 in Brisbane. Hassina gave an oral presentation during the medical geology session, entitled “Medical Geology in Africa: A review and possible future plans”. She also presented a poster together with Theo Davies on “Geochemical variables as plausible aetiological cofactors in the incidence of some common environmental diseases in Africa”
Refilwe Shelembi presented a poster on her on-going PhD research project entitled “The Pi-lanesberg Alkaline Complex and the Rustenburg Layered Suite: possible sources of contami-nation of groundwater and health impact on North West Province communities, South Af-rica”.
During this meeting, Hassina Mouri received the official IMGA Board Certificate of Ap-proval in recognition of the SA Local Chapter. The certificate was delivered by Prof Colin Simpson, former IUGS Councillor and convener of the session on Medical Geology (see photo right).
Medical Geology in SA, plans for 2013/2014
A Meeting on “Medical Geology in Africa” will be organised at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa during the 1st week of October 2013.
A Medical Geology Session at the 21st Meeting of the International Mineralogical Association (IMA 2014). The International Mineralogical Association will hold its 21st General Meeting (IMA2014) in South Africa, at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg from 1 to 5 September, 2014. During this meeting, a special session dedicated to Medical Geology will be organised as part of the South African Medical Geology Chapter activities.

In February 2012, the IMGA Executive Committee approved the request to establish a chapter of Medical Ge-ology in South Africa under the leadership of Prof. Hassina Mouri from the Department of Geology, Univer-sity of Johannesburg (UJ). We have, so far, eight active members, with expertise in various fields of Earth and Medical Sciences. Special welcome to our new members Sabine Verryn (Senior Scientist –XRD, Chair IMA 2014-South Africa), Refilwe Shelembe (PhD student-UJ) and Portia Munyangane (MSc students UJ). The South African Chapter is the 2nd chapter of Medical Geology on the African Continent. At the same time, Has-sina Mouri was elected Chair of the Membership Committee and member of the student committee of IMGA.
Amongst the various activities planNed in South Africa regarding development of medical geology, the fol-lowing ARE under consideration:
 A short course on medical geology by Prof. Jose Centeno and colleagues from IMGA, followed by one or two days research seminar is planned for early 2013 at the University of Johannesburg. During this occa-sion, the South African Chapter of Medical Geology will be inaugurated officially.
 Establishment of a first International Centre of Excellence in Medical Geology in Africa (ICEMGA) in South Africa based at the University of Johannesburg. The program objectives are to provide research solu-tions for geological health threats and to provide education and training for a new generation of researchers who will lead in this field in South Africa and Africa in general. The aim is to develop cutting-edge re-search that will help us understand the benefits and the role of Earth materials and systems in the occur-rence of diseases that are related to naturally occurring geological problems. This would lead to broadening our understanding of the diagnostic spectrum as well as therapy for many geological related health issues and thus improve life quality on the African continent. This program will be in cooperation with various National and International organisations amongst the International Medical Geology Association (IMGA). The proposal for the establishment of this Centre was presented by Hassina Mouri at the 4th Conference on Medical Geology in Bari, Italy, September 2011.
 Scientific Sessions on Medical Geology and related topics will form an important part of the scientific pro-gram of the two major events that will take place in South Africa in 2014 (IMA 2014) (http://www.ima2014.co.za) and in 2016 (IGC 35) (http://www.35igc.org).
 More information on these plans will be provided in the next newsletter.
 Participation at the session on medical geology at the IGC 34 – Brisbane 2012 with three abstracts on topics related to medical geology in South Africa and Africa in general.
Finally warm thanks to all the colleagues in South Africa and from IMGA for their support and encourage-ments for the establishment of the South African Chapter of Medical Geology.