Dr Lamla Nqwata

Pulmonologist, Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital

Dr Lamla Nqwata and her five siblings were raised by their grandmother, a nurse, in Mdantsane in the Eastern Cape. “It was painful watching my grandmother struggle, and at the same time, I became aware of the needs of patients in our communities,” she says.

Nqwata powered through school, being promoted early due to her exceptional grades, and completed matric at the age of 15. She went on to study medicine at the University of Transkei, completing her medical degree at age 20. After an internship at Johannesburg General Hospital in 2007 and a year’s community service in Port Elizabeth, she went on to study internal medicine and qualified as a specialist physician in 2013, further sub-specialising in pulmonology.

Now 31, she is based at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in the internal medicine, pulmonology and high care unit, and is now working on her master’s with a focus on atypical mycobacteria, aiming to further enrol for a PhD. Nqwata has a growing interest in academic research, but also wants to continue her role as a specialist consultant guiding medical students and young doctors. This is an area she feels particularly passionate about.

“I want to inspire young health professionals, especially young girls from disadvantaged backgrounds,” she says. “If life happens to give you an opportunity to be something, never settle to do just enough or be average — always be the best version of yourself.”

— Tracy Burrows

Website: https://www.wits.ac.za/staff/academic-a-z-listing/n/ lamlanqwatawitsacza/