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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 Doctors make History in South Africa
2011-07-14

 

New aortic valve

Three members of our Faculty of Health Sciences made history by being the first to implant a special new aortic valve in South Africa. 
 
In a combined effort, the Departments of Cardiology, Pediatric Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery did the first Medtronic CoreValve implant in South Africa on a patient in Universitas Academic Hospital. 
 
With the support of hospital management and the Medtronic company, Prof. Hennie Theron, Prof. Stephen Brown and Dr JP Theron of the Faculty of Health Sciences, with the assistance of Dr Jean-Claude Laborde, performed the operation early on Wednesday morning, 06 July 2011.
 
The advantage of this new valve is that it can be implanted percutaneously through a catheter from the groin. This eliminates the need for invasive surgery.
 
The valve is made from porcine pericardium (tissue derived from pigs) and is mounted on an expandable stent, which is threaded along an artery, until it reaches its desired position. Prof. Theron says the valve is especially useful in older patients who suffer from aortic valve disease and pose a high surgical risk. Furthermore, the use of this valve greatly reduces hospitalisation time, in comparison to traditional surgery.
 
“One patient already received an implant this morning and we hope to finish 2 more today,” Prof. Brown said, emphasizing the swiftness and efficiency of the new valve implanting process.
 
“It is a complex procedure, but this service can in future be offered to all patients in the public and private sectors of the Free State. It is heartwarming that the academic complex can take the lead in this modern, high-tech therapy.”
 
For more information on the procedure, please contact Prof. Theron at 051 4053428.
 

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