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29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

UFS cardiologists and surgeons give children a beating heart
2015-04-23

Photo: René-Jean van der Berg

A team from the University of the Free State School for Medicine work daily unremittingly to save the lives of young children who have been born with heart defects by carrying out highly specialised interventions and operations on them. These operations, which are nowadays performed more and more frequently by cardiologists from the UFS School of Medicine, place the UFS on a similar footing to world-class cardiology and cardio-thoracic units.

One of the children is seven-month-old Montsheng Ketso who recently underwent a major heart operation to keep the left ventricle of her heart going artificially.

Montsheng was born with a rare, serious defect of the coronary artery, preventing the left ventricle from receiving enough blood to pump to the rest of the body.

This means that the heart muscle can suffer damage because these children essentially experience a heart attack at a very young age.

In a healthy heart, the left ventricle receives oxygenated blood from the left atrium. Then the left ventricle pumps this oxygen-rich blood to the aorta whence it flows to the rest of the body. The heart muscle normally receives blood supply from the oxygenated aorta blood, which in this case cannot happen.

Photo: René-Jean van der Berg

“She was very ill. I thought my baby was going to die,” says Mrs Bonizele Ketso, Montsheng’s mother.

She says that Montsheng became sick early in February, and she thought initially it was a tight chest or a cold. After a doctor examined and treated her baby, Montsheng still remained constantly ill, so the doctor referred her to Prof Stephen Brown, paediatric cardiologist at the UFS and attached to Universitas Hospital.

Here, Prof Brown immediately got his skilled team together as quickly as possible to diagnose the condition in order to operate on Montsheng.

During the operation, the blood flow was restored, but since Montsheng’s heart muscle was seriously damaged, the heart was unable to contract at the end of the operation. Then she was coupled to a heart-lung machine to allow the heart to rest and give the heart muscle chance to recover. The entire team of technologists and the dedicated anaesthetist, Dr Edwin Turton, kept a vigil day and night for several days.

Prof Francis Smit, chief specialist at the UFS Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, explains that without this operation Montsheng would not have been able to celebrate her first birthday.

“After the surgery, these children can reach adulthood without further operations. Within two to three months after the operation, she will have a normal active life, although for about six months she will still use medication. Thereafter, she will be tiptop and shortly learn to crawl and walk.”

Mrs Ketso is looking forward enormously to seeing her daughter stand up and take her first steps. A dream which she thought would never come true.    

“Write there that I really love these doctors.”

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