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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

Neonatal Care Unit receives donation to expand capacity
2015-10-28

  

With the best care and technology available,
the survival rate of premature
babies is about 85%. The neonatal intensive
care unit at the Universitas hospital can now
expand its capacity thanks to a donation of
R1 million by the Discovery fund.
From the left is Prof André Venter.
Head: Department of Paediatrics and
Child Health at the UFS, and mrs Ruth Lewin,
Head: Corporate Sustainability at Discovery. 

The smallest people need the greatest care. This care is being provided by the neonatal unit in the Children’s Wing of the Universitas Hospital. This project of the University of the Free State (UFS), under the leadership of Prof Andre Venter, has led to several miracles regarding child health since its inception.

Now, thanks to a donation of R1 million rand from the Discovery fund, this unit can expand its capacity and treat more premature babies.

About 14% of babies in South Africa are born before the 37th week of pregnancy. These babies are born with a very low birth weight, and are in need of critical care. The neonatal intensive-care unit at Universitas Hospital is currently equipped to take care of about 14 premature babies at a time, from birth to discharge. However, because of the high incidence of premature births in the hospital’s service area, the unit needs about 45 beds.

The aim of the Children’s Wing Project is to expand the neonatal intensive-care unit in order to meet the demands of the hospital’s service area, which reaches as far as the Southern Cape. The Discovery Fund recently donated R1 million to the project, which will be used to expand the capacity of the neonatal intensive-care unit.

“With the best care and technology available, the survival rate of premature babies is about 85%. Without this, half of all premature babies would die,” says Prof Venter, Head: Department of Paediatrics and Child Health at the UFS.

“This is the reason why private and public partnerships, such as the one with Discovery, are essential to make specialised services available to the most vulnerable people. Discovery has made a significant contribution to the project without which we would not have been able to expand the capacity of the unit



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