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04 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Charl Devenish
Prof Cathryn Tonne
Air pollution not only costs lives, it costs money too. Pictured is Prof Cathryn Tonne presenting a guest lecture on air pollution at the Bloemfontein Campus.

Health effects associated with ambient air pollution (AAP) have been well documented. Subsequently, the relationship between pollution and financial outcomes have also become a focus for case studies globally. An Environmental Research journal article revealed that “low and middle-income countries are disproportionately affected by the global burden of adverse health effects caused by AAP”. 

A high price to pay

In 2012, high concentrations of air pollution caused 7.4% of all deaths, costing South Africa up to 6% of its Gross Domestic Product. According to the recent International Growth Centre study conducted by senior University of Cape Town researchers, this is a direct consequence of the country’s heavy dependence of fossil fuels, a source of health-damaging air pollution and greenhouse pollutants.

Stunted human and economic growth

These South African statistics are attested to by Prof Cathryn Tonne who recently presented a guest lecture on air pollution which was hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) Business School.

“Air pollution can affect economic development through several pathways, and health is an important one. Air pollution is linked to shorter life expectancy, chronic disease, asthma exacerbation and many other health outcomes that result in absenteeism from work and school. These have large direct costs to the health system.” 

Prof Tonne says that air pollution exposure in children is linked to reduced cognitive development, with important impacts on human capital. As a result, children are not reaching their full potential in terms of neurodevelopment, which has an effect on their income prospects and the economy as a whole. 

Resolving a looming disaster

Technology may be employed to radically clean the air. Cities need to lead in the reduction of air pollution by promoting renewable energy, using active transport such as walking or cycling, and investing in infrastructure to make this safe and attractive. 

With researchers playing a major role in strengthening the case for aggressive air pollution control, the government needs to implement policies in order to control sources of air pollution. This global health and economic issue also requires individuals and communities to play their part to improve air quality.

News Archive

Invitation to International Cardiothoracic congress
2011-06-01

Our Faculty of Health Sciences is pleased to announce the European Association for Cardiothoracic Surgeons Academy (EACTS) and Hannes Meyer Cardiothoracic Surgery Registrar Symposium, which will be taking place on our Bloemfontein Campus from 3 to 5 June 2011.

The congress first started in 2004 as the Hannes Meyer Registrar Congress, which was jointly hosted by the UFS and the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of South Africa. This event was hosted on our Bloemfontein Campus annually, except in 2009, when the University of Cape Town was the host.

The focus of this year’s symposium is new techniques in perfusion and surgery, with specific emphasis on research methodology, inflammatory lung disease and cardiac surgery in children and adults, which can be performed without the aid of a heart-lung machine in developing countries.

Prof. Francis Smit, Head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in the Faculty of Health Sciences, says EACTS identified the UFS as the Sub-Saharan training unit they will support in terms of training. The first of these symposiums was accordingly hosted in 2010.

This year’s symposium will be attended by approximately 70 delegates from cardiothoracic units from across South Africa and 10 doctors from 6 African countries, as well as 30 perfusion technologists.

“We are fulfilling a leadership role in Africa and South Africa with this course,” says Prof. Smit.

Several international visitors will be present, like Prof. Paul Sergeant and Prof. Marko Turina, two previous EACTS presidents and Prof. Charles Yankah, a Ghanaian Cardiothoracic Surgeon from the Charite Medical University in Berlin. The current president of the European Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion (EBCP), Mr Frank Merkle, will also be one of three international speakers delivering lectures on perfusion technology.

You are invited to attend the conference on the following dates:

 
Date: 3 - 5 June 2011

Time: 09:00

Venue: Faculty of Health Sciences in the Francois Retief Building on our Bloemfontein Campus

 


 

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