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14 May 2019 | Story Thabo Kessah | Photo Tsepo Moeketsi
Prof Ashafa
Prof Ashafa’s research documents plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments.

The Phytomedicine and Phytopharmacology Research Programme (PPRP) in the Department of Plant Sciences on the Qwaqwa Campus researches the biological effects of medicinal plants used in the folkloric medicine of the Eastern Free State, particularly to explore the values and contribution of indigenous knowledge systems (IKS) towards broader scientific research. This is according to the programme’s principal investigator and researcher, NRF C2-rated researcher, Professor Anofi Ashafa. 

 “Our research is mainly aimed at documenting plants used by the Basotho in the management of different ailments and to further discover, isolate, and purify active phytoconstituents that are responsible for disease curation or amelioration, thereby assisting in the global promotion of accessible and affordable medication in developing countries,” said Prof Ashafa. 

Since 2012, the PPRP has worked extensively on Basotho medicinal plants (BMP) used as antimicrobials, antioxidants, antidiabetics, antitubercular, anticancer, anthelmintic, and antidiarrheal agents, starting from biological activities up to the  evaluation of the toxicity of these plants for the kidney, liver, and heart functions in order to establish safe dosage parameters. These activities have led to the discovery of four potent antidiabetic biomolecules that are awaiting the processes of patency and commercialisation. Additional outputs include 104 published peer-reviewed articles , 7 postdoctoral fellows, 6 PhDs, 9 master’s, and 16 honours graduates. 

“Our research informs teaching and the development of expertise in ethnobotany, 
phytomedicine, and phytopharmacology in order to contribute to the National Development Plan (NDP) through human capacity development, skills, and knowledge transfer.

The group is also investigating some medicinal plants on the endangered red list of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), through micropropagation and field trials as well as proposing conservation strategies to preserve these valuable species.

The PPRP consists of postdoctoral fellows, PhD, master’s, and honours students and research is done in collaboration with several local and international universities as well as the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa. 


News Archive

UFS hosts Commonwealth universities
2005-08-25

The University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein will host delegates from 14 universities across the Commonwealth next week as part of a programme to measure and promote excellence in university management.

The workshop will be held from Monday, 29 August to Wednesday, 31 August 2005 as part of the Commonwealth University Management Benchmarking Programme, run by the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU).

It is the first time that the UFS will host the workshop and the second time that it is held in South Africa. 

“The purpose of the programme is to promote and measure excellence in university management.  Unlike other university benchmarking programmes that focus on matters such as research output, the programme run by the ACU follows a process benchmarking approach and aims to identify and promote best practice and quality assurance,” said Prof Magda Fourie, Vice-Rector: Academic Planning at the UFS.

According to Prof Fourie the programme runs on an annual basis and works on a quality improvement cycle.  Every year certain areas of university management are evaluated by a panel of international assessors.  This year it focuses on strategic planning, recruitment and retention of staff, and branding. 
If weaknesses are identified, plans are compiled which should result in  an upward spiral of continued quality improvement.

“The UFS has been taking part in the programme for the past five years.  Last year we fared particularly well with the evaluation of our change management and engagement with the community,” said Prof Fourie. 

“The ACU benchmarking programme is a useful forum in which we can measure ourselves against  our peers.  It will also help us to prepare for the audit of the effectiveness of our quality assurance policies and systems, which will be conducted in October 2006 by the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) of the Council for Higher Education (CHE),” said Prof Fourie.

Other universities that will take part in the workshop include the Leeds Metropolitan University, the University of Glamorgan in the United Kingdom, the University of Northern British Columbia in Canada, the Central Queensland University, the Monash University in Australia, and the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).


Media release
Issued by:  Lacea Loader
   Media Representative
   Tel:  (051) 401-2584
   Cell:  083 645 2454
   E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
25 August 2005
 

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