History of the Allergy Society

The Allergy Society of South Africa


1998 - 2015

  • The Allergy Society of South Africa is primarily a professional society for medical practitioners and other allied health care professionals involved in the research, diagnosis, treatment and management of allergic diseases.
  • ALLSA has taken responsibility to inform and educate the public regarding the optimal management of allergic disorders.
  • The concept of ALLSA was proposed in 1987, after participation of the founding members at the European Academy of Allergy & Clinical Immunology meeting in Budapest, in April 1986. It was decided to form a national society, in line with similar societies in other countries.
  • The first activity was the inaugural national congress held in Johannesburg in May 1998, which coincided with the launch of the society’s professional medical journal, Current Allergy. The name of this very successful publication was later changed to Current Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

The aims of ALLSA

  1. To promote the highest possible standards among health care professionals engaged in the practice of allergy, in the best traditions of medicine and medical ethics.
  2. To advance and encourage the study of allergy and clinical immunology, and to provide and distribute information of importance to the practice of clinical allergy.
  3. To convene scientific meetings designed to update clinicians and allied professionals involved in the practice of allergy, and as a forum for the presentation of scientific papers of importance to the practice of allergy.
  4. To work towards the recognition of allergy as a specialised branch of medicine in South Africa, and to introduce an academic qualification in the discipline to train and equip doctors in this field. In September 2012, the Government promulgated the legislation whereby Allergology in South Africa is now recognized as a sub-specialty, for specialists in Family Medicine, Paediatrics and Internal Medicine. This achievement has been eagerly awaited by ALLSA for over two decades, and has been worked towards tirelessly by many dedicated members of ALLSA over the years. The first Allergology sub-specialists will be instrumental in further taking the discipline to new levels and new opportunities.

During the past 27 years, ALLSA has made all of these goals a reality.

There are various affiliate sub-committees and organizations of medical professionals that have specific tasks and other responsibilities (the Allergic Rhinitis working group, the Primary Immunodeficiency working group, the Asthma working group)
Allergy encompasses a range of clinical conditions targeting various organ systems (lungs, nose, skin, and gastro-intestinal tract), in both children and adults, thus allergic patients are best managed by a team of medical practitioners.

  • ALLSA co-operates with other professional medical societies with overlapping interests in Allergy, which include the co-hosting of joint meetings, congresses & workshops.
  • ALLSA is engaged in cooperating with organisations and doctors in neighbouring countries, aiding and assisting them in their own development.
  • ALLSA is affiliated to the international umbrella organisations of other allergy societies.
  • Ordinary membership of ALLSA is open to registered medical practitioners, registered health professionals and scientists engaged in research or teaching of allergy and/or clinical immunology , as well as persons who could aid the aims of the Society, but do not fulfil the ordinary membership criteria .
  • The vast majority of members of ALLSA are medical practitioners in South Africa, but there are a number of prominent international medical specialists whose support and endorsement are treasured.
  • Members of the public may not become members, but are nonetheless welcome to avail themselves of the services offered by the society. See our patient information brochures.

ALLSA has a fully functional national office based in Cape Town.

  • The ALLSA Resource Centre fulfils not only the administrative functions of the society, but also has a range of services available for paid-up professional members.
  • These services include a library for journals and books on various topics.
  • ALLSA organises a large and prestigious 2-3 day medical congress every year, with venues and medical themes that change from occasion to occasion.
  • Training courses for physicians to prepare for the Diploma in Allergology and to assist with CPD validation (continuous professional development) are also convened by ALLSA.

ALLSA has produced a Handbook of Practical Allergy for society members.

  • The third addition was released in 2010, and continues to be highly sought after and used by all with an interest in managing allergic diseases.
  • There are also several other professional medical books and booklets which have been written and distributed by members of the society.

Diploma Course

ALLSA’s Diploma Course in Allergology (convened by the South African College of Family Medicine) has been a resounding success. It exists for medical practitioners and is intended for doctors interested in improving their knowledge of optimal allergy management, to acquire a formally recognized qualification to acknowledge this training and experience.


In September 2012, the Government promulgated the legislation whereby Allergology in South Africa is now recognized as a sub-specialty for specialists in Family Medicine, Paediatrics and Internal Medicine. The first Allergology sub-specialists will be instrumental in further taking the discipline to new levels and new opportunities.


  • One of the major contributions of ALLSA is the journal “Current Allergy and Clinical Immunology”.
  • The journal, now in its 27th year of publication, is published four times a year and contains a wide range of medical and scientific features articles, congress reviews and previews, medical news items and pharmaceutical company news.
  • Distribution is to over 5,300 recipients among the medical and allied professions.
  • It is envisaged that this journal will be distributed more widely outside the borders of our country, and its value as a teaching, reference and review publication should not be underestimated.

For the Public.

For the public ALLSA offers a wide range of services, the purpose of which is to provide sound medical information and knowledge to aid the patient in the management of allergic conditions. This is achieved through several different additional channels.

  1. Information to journalists in the lay press and also medical or health-orientated journals, magazines, radio & TV programmes.
  2. The availability of Patient Information Sheets on various topics: e.g. Food Allergy, Coeliac Disease, Atopic Eczema, Rhinitis, Bedding Protectors. Society. This list is being extended continually and is available on our web page.
  3. We run a very successful public awareness campaign during World Allergy Week each year. We utilise various platforms for this initiative, including radio and newspapers.
  4. Our web address is http://www.allergysa.org

ALLSA is funded primarily through the healthcare industry (pharmaceutical /diagnostic)

This allows us to support local research, as well as and education through the publication of our journal Current Allergy and Clinical Immunology.
Our webpage affords readers of the journal the opportunity to participate in our C.P.D programme. There are also interesting case reports published on the web.