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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

Kovsies first with Clinical Skills Centre for the allied health professions
2011-10-27

 

First Clinical Skills Centre in South Africa on our Bloemfontein Campus
Photo: Rian Horn

The School for Allied Health Professions within the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently opened the first Clinical Skills Centre for the allied health professions in South Africa.

The multifunctional centre will be used for the practical training of undergraduate students in the allied health professions, which include occupational therapy, physiotherapy, dietetics and optometry.

The concept for the Clinical Skills Centre was the brainchild of the Head of the School for Allied Health, Dr Santie van Vuuren. According to Dr Van Vuuren, the Clinical Skills Centre not only addresses specific needs within the South African context, but also fits in with the current curriculum of the programmes within the School for Allied Health. She says the Centre is a symbol of quality and excellence in the training of undergraduate students.

The Clinical Skills Centre was designed in such a way that it can be converted into one or more lecture halls. It boasts the latest technology such as interactive computer screens which can be used for lectures. Most of the equipment students will use during their practical training is on wheels and can be used between different classes. The centre also has a stair lift attached to a banister to transport disabled people from one floor to another in his/her wheelchair.
 

Media Release
27 October 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

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