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03 April 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Vhugala Nthakheni
Uhuru Qwaqwa Arrival
The #UFSWalkToUhuru team arrives at the UFS Qwaqwa Campus on Friday 22 March.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Division of Student Affairs, in collaboration with the UFS Office for International Affairs, have joined hands to drive a fundraising and student-accessibility initiative dubbed, ‘The Walk to Uhuru’ (#UFSWalktoUhuru), which is aimed at raising funds and advocating for the educational rights of the less privileged. 

The project aims to raise funds in excess of R2 million from the public and stakeholders affiliated with the UFS (Kovsie staff and students). The project derives from the 2018/2019 UFS Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) mandate ‘Students Must Graduate’. The ISRC mandate aims to source funding opportunities for UFS students to register, and to complete their studies across all three campuses in 2020 and beyond.

The first leg of the project, a 350 km walk from the Bloemfontein to the Qwaqwa Campus, has already taken place and concluded on Friday, 22 March 2019 as planned. The #UFSWalkToUhuru team successfully completed the first leg of their journey to academic freedom for financially disadvantaged students at the UFS. The Uhuru team is now focusing its attention on the second leg and is determined to take on Mount Kilimanjaro (Uhuru) from 20 June to 20 July 2019.

The team sat down for a debriefing session to unpack the overall experience and result of the first half of the initiative, and they all agreed that the walk to Qwaqwa was an enlightening experience. It was a walk that comprised learning opportunities, team building, and goal crushing.

According to Rethabile Motseki, member of the #UFSWalkToUhuru team, the walk to Qwaqwa made a significant impact on the project, as the university community is now aware of the significant goals that the team is trying to accomplish. The team has also resumed their fitness-training programme to ensure that they are ready to take on the Uhuru climb in June.

A media briefing will take place shortly (date to be confirmed) to detail the ongoing fundraising initiatives rolled out by the #UFSWalkToUhuru team.  We implore you, and the nation as a whole, to help establish a better future for disadvantaged UFS students by donating to the initiative.

Students, staff, and the public can support the cause and make contributions/donations to the initiative by visiting the UFS Walk to Uhuru #givengain account page.

For more information, contact UFS SRC President, Sonwabile Dwaba, on DwabaSJ@ufs.ac.za  or Rethabile Motseki on MotsekiR@ufs.ac.za  

News Archive

First doctorate in Thoracic Surgery in Africa awarded
2009-05-12

The University of the Free State (UFS) has become the first university in Africa to award a Ph.D. degree in Thoracic Surgery. The degree was conferred on Prof. Anthony Linegar from the university’s Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery during its recent graduation ceremony.

Thoracic surgery is a challenging subspecialty of cardiothoracic surgery. It began in South Africa in the 1940s and is a broad medico-surgical specialist discipline that involves the diagnosis, operative and peri-operative treatment of acquired and congenital non-cardiac ailments of the chest.

Prof. Linegar became the first academic to conduct a mixed methods analysis of this surgical specialty, which included a systematic review of all the research done in this field in South Africa. The title of his thesis is A Model for the Development of Thoracic Surgery in Central South Africa. The research was based on the hypothesis of a performance gap between the burden of disease in the community and the actual service provision. It makes use of systems theory and project management concepts to develop a model aimed at the development of thoracic surgery.

The research proved that there is a significant under provision of clinical services in thoracic surgery. This was quantified to a factor of 20 times less than should be the case, in diseases such as lung and oesophagus cancer. According to Prof. Linegar, there are multiple reasons for this. Listed amongst these reasons is the fact that thoracic surgery is not part of the undergraduate education in medical training. There tends to be a low level of awareness amongst clinicians as to what the thoracic surgeon offers their patients. The diagnostic and referral patterns in primary and secondary health facilities, where diseases must be picked up and referred early, are not functioning well in this regard. In addition, relatively few cardiothoracic surgeons express an interest in thoracic surgery.

Prof. Linegar’s model is named the ATLAS Mode, which is an acronym for the Advancement of Thoracic Surgery through Analysis and Strategic Planning. It includes the raising of awareness of the role of the specialist thoracic surgeon in the treatment of patients with thoracic diseases as part of the solution to the problem. Furthermore, it aims to develop an accessible and sustainable specialist service that adequately provides for the needs of the community, and that is appropriately represented in health administration circles.

His promoters were Prof. Gert van Zyl, Head of the School of Medicine at the UFS, Prof. Peter Goldstraw, from the Imperial College of London, United Kingdom (UK) and Prof. Francis Smit, Head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the UFS.

Prof. Linegar has been with the UFS since 2004, is a graduate from Stellenbosch University in 1984 and completed his postgraduate training in Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Cape Town. He was granted a Fellowship in Thoracic Surgery at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London, UK and has since held consultant positions at the UFS, Stellenbosch University and in private practice. He has been involved in registrar training since returning from the UK in 1994 and has extensive experience in intensive care medicine. He has published widely, has presented papers at many international conferences, has been invited as a speaker on many occasions and has won awards for best presentation on three occasions.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
12 May 2009
 

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