Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
25 April 2019 | Story Mamosa Makaya

Since 2016, the University of the Free State Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) has received a grant from First National Bank worth R2 498 000, which supports tertiary bursaries for students with disabilities. Bursary holders are funded through CUADS, as the administrator of the bursaries.
  
These are students enrolled for various academic programmes who require academic assistance and/or assistive devices such as electronic handheld magnifiers, laptops, and hearing aids. The FNB grant also covers tuition, accommodation, study material and books, and meals.  The success of the grant is already evident, with one of the recipients having graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in December 2018. A second student was capped at the April 2019 graduations with a BSc Honours in Quantity Surveying.
 
Supporting the principles of the ITP

The UFS received the grant from FNB in instalments, starting in the 2016 academic year to date, supporting the needs of 40 disabled students. This grant and the work of CUADS speaks to and supports the principles of the Integrated Transformation Plan (ITP), namely inclusivity, transformation, and diversity. The vision of the Universal Access work stream is to enable the UFS to create an environment where students with disabilities can experience all aspects of student life equal to their non-disabled peers. The ITP provides for the recognition of the rights of people with disabilities as an important lesson in social justice and an opportunity to reinforce university values.

The successful administration of the grant to benefit past and present students is a ‘feather in the cap’ of CUADS, and is a shining example of the impact of public private investment and the endless possibilities that open up when there is a commitment to developing future leaders in academic spaces, allowing them to thrive by creating a learning environment that is welcoming and empowering. 



News Archive

UFS cardiac team leading with project
2017-05-31

 Description: Cardiac team read more Tags: Cardiac team read more

Prof Peter Schultheiss of the Charité University in Berlin,
Germany, visited the Robert WM Frater Centre for
Cardiovascular Research at the UFS for a study regarding
cardiomyopathy, a significant cause of fatal heart failure
among Africans. From the left are Dr Glen Taylor,
Dr Danie Buys, Prof Makoali Makatoko,
Prof Schultheiss and Prof Francis Smit.
Photo: Rulanzen Martin

A team of cardiac doctors associated with the Robert WM Frater Cardiovascular Research Centre at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Faculty of Health Sciences has commenced with a pioneering research project regarding idiopathic dilating cardiomyopathy.  

An Afrocentric research focus
Prof Francis Smit, Head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the UFS and Head of the Frater Centre, describes dilating cardiomyopathy as a heart muscle disease that is quite common, particularly among people of African descent. The disease weakens the heart muscle, which in turn leads to heart failure.

“To date there is no curable treatment for this condition and 50% of patients that have shown heart failure, died within a period of five years. The causes of this condition have been unknown in the majority of patients. But over the past few years major strides have been made where virus infections of the heart muscle or myocarditis have been identified as a possible underlying cause. Various genetic diseases are also linked to it,” says Prof Smit.

International collaborations ensure success
According to Prof Smit, the project is being run in conjunction with Prof Heinz-Peter Schultheiss of the Charité University and the Institute for Cardiac Diagnostics and Therapy in Berlin, Germany.

“We have been working on the project over the past 18 months and I have twice visited Prof Schultheiss in Germany. He is now visiting us in Bloemfontein. We have established a collaborative project focused on patients in central South Africa”.
Prof Schultheiss is a world leader regarding the diagnosis, pathology and treatment of dilating cardiomyopathy, says Prof Smit.

“He brings a lifetime of research experience to Bloemfontein and is internationally renowned as the father of myocardial or heart muscle biopsies.

“His pioneering work on the discipline has led to diagnostic accuracy that has induced purposeful and personalised treatment of dilating cardiomyopathy and has brought about dramatic changes in some subsets of patients’ life expectancy and their cure.”

Solving problems close to home
According to Prof Mokoali Makatoko, Head of the Department of Cardiology, there are more than 1500 new cases of heart failure identified annually at the Universitas Academic Hospital, of which approximately 30% are attributed to cardiomyopathy. “With the use of endomyocardial biopsies the team hopes to treat viruses unique to Southern Africa as well as other underlying causes of dilating cardiomyopathy.”

Prof Stephen Brown, Head of Paediatric Cardiology at the Universitas Academic Hospital, says children suffering from this disease never reach a mature age and those under his supervision will also be undergoing these tests. Various other departments at the UFS will also participate in this project. Profs Makatoko and Brown did the first four endomyocardial biopsies under the management of Prof Schultheiss during the past week. The results will be available in the coming weeks after which the project will be officially launched and patient recruitment will start in earnest.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept