01 November 2021 | Story Reuben Maeko

The Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) celebrated the winners from its annual Faculty Research Forum held earlier in October 2021 by handing out medals, trophies, and certificates to winners in the different categories.

The 52nd Faculty Research Forum took place virtually in August this year and winners of articles from 2020 were also announced at the event. Prof Edelweiss Wentzel-Viljoen, currently a freelance nutrition consultant and extraordinary professor of nutrition at the Centre of Excellence for Nutrition (CEN), Faculty of Health Sciences, North-West University (NWU), delivered the FP Retief Lecture.

Prof Gert van Zyl, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, congratulated all the winners and participants, saying the forum was, as always, characterised by high-quality submissions for presentations, showcasing the significant recent progress in research development. Prof Van Zyl said: “We provide research leadership by promoting and supporting research activities to ensure that the faculty achieves excellence in research, scholarship, and innovation.”

A researcher because of insatiable curiosity

One of the medal winners, Prof Louise van Den Berg, Associate Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said she became a researcher because of her insatiable curiosity about how everything works and fits together in creation, and her love and respect for the research process that is both structured and methodical but also creative and expressive. “It was a bit challenging during COVID-19 but we had to work hard because of dedication and the support from our team,” said Prof Van den Berg.

The 2020 research articles winners were as follows:

John van der Riet Medal Winners

Prof Van den Berg, Mohlakotsana Mokhehle and Dr Jacques Raubenheimer from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, for their research article Nutritional status, glycaemic control and barriers to treatment compliance among patients with type 2 diabetes attending public primary health clinics in Maseru, Lesotho, published in Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes of South Africa 24(3) (2019).

Muller Potgieter Medal Winners

Dr Anne-Cecilia van Marle, Dr Jaco Joubert and Prof Muriel Meiring from the Department of Haematology and Cell Biology for their research article, Comparison of ADAMTS13 and Von Willebrand factor levels and activities, and plasminogen levels, in plasma products currently available for the treatment of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura in South Africa. Transfusion and Apheresis Science 58 (2019)

Kerneels Nel Medal Winners

The Kerneels Nel Medal Winners were Dr Champion N Nyoni and Prof Yvonne Botma from the School of Nursing with their entry, Implementing a competency-based midwifery programme in Lesotho: A gap analysis. Nurse Education in Practice 34 (2019)

The 2021 research articles winners were as follows:

John van der Riet Medal Winners

Mrs Emrie Spies, Prof Van den Berg and M Nel from the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences with an article titled, Knowledge, attitude and practices of patients receiving maintenance haemodialysis in Bloemfontein, South Africa. South African Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2020)

Muller Potgieter Medal Winners

Peter N Mwangi, Milton T Mogotsi, Mapaseka L Seheri, M Jeffrey Mphahlele, Ina Peenze, Mathew D. Esona, Benjamin Kumwenda, A Duncan Steele, Carl D Kirkwood, Valantine N Ndze, Francis E Dennis, Khuzwayo C Jere and Martin M Nyaga from the Next Generation Sequencing Unit and the Division of Virology, School of Pathology for the article, Whole Genome In-Silico Analysis of South African G1P[8] Rotavirus Strains before and after vaccine Introduction over a period of 14 years. Vaccines 8 (2020)

Kerneels Nel Medal Winners

Cynthia Spies and Prof Yvonne Botma, School of Nursing , for the article Optimising simulation learning experiences for mature, postgraduate nursing students. Nurse Education in Practice 47 (2020).

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