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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 to celebrate excellence at 2014 December Graduation Ceremony
2014-12-02

 

Live streaming: http://apps.ufs.ac.za/ufslivestreaming/ 

On Thursday 11 December 2014, the University of the Free State (UFS) will award degrees and qualifications during our Summer Graduation Ceremony at the Bloemfontein Campus.

The graduation will take place during two ceremonies in the Callie Human Centre, where master’s and PhD degrees will be awarded during the first ceremony at 09:30. Diplomas, certificates and undergraduate qualifications will be awarded to students from the School of Open Learning and the Faculty of Health Sciences at 14:30.

Radio personality, Redi Thlabi, and cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr Susan Vosloo, will address the graduates.

Apart from her radio show on 702 and CapeTalk, Thlabi has also hosted local television news shows and anchored for international broadcasters like SKY and the BBC. In addition, she has presented two of her own TV shows: ‘Redi’ on Mzansi Magic and ‘South to North’ on Al-Jazeera.

Her first book, Endings and Beginnings (Jacana) received popular acclaim and is currently being turned into a screenplay for a movie.

Dr Susan Vosloo, a Kovsie alumnus, graduated in 1980. She completed her internship in Pretoria and spent the following year in Critical Care Medicine at Universitas Hospital, Bloemfontein, before starting her surgical training in Johannesburg.

She is currently in independent private practice at the Netcare Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town, having also worked from 1998 – 2012 at the Vincent Pallotti Hospital in the same city.

Dr Vosloo maintains close ties with our university and has quite a number of addition roles to that of surgeon:

• member of the Council of the UFS;
• UFS Council Representative in the Senate;
• member of the Standing Advisory Committee of the School of Medicine, UFS;
• member of the Provincial Department of Health;
• Africa representative for the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society; and
• founding member of the World Society for Pediatric and Congenital Heart Surgery.

Prof Boelie Wessels will also be awarded his 10th academic degree from the UFS since 1974. Adding his Honorary Doctorate degree to the list, it will make this his 11th degree. Prof Wessels is 84 years old and has 18-plus academic qualifications from various institutions – a phenomenal achievement.

Furthermore, Moses Lubinga and his wife, Stellah, will be the first married couple to be awarded their PhDs at the same graduation ceremony at the UFS. Mr Lubinga will receive his Doctorate in Agricultural Economics, while Mrs Lubinga’s PhD is in the field of Economic and Management Sciences.

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