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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

Medical screening tests can help detect health risks at an early stage
2013-09-09

09 September 2013

It is once again time for the annual medical screening tests done by the Centre for Health and Wellness, which helps staff at the University of the Free State to watch their health.

All staff members are invited to participate and to find out how healthy they really are.

Dr Anette Prins, Deputy Director of the Centre for Health and Wellness, says their aim this year is to get every staff member to go for a checkup.

“For this reason, the tests will be done on different days and in different buildings. In this way, we take the test to the staff and they don’t have to come to a particular point as was done in the past.”
According to Discovery Health’s Healthy Company Index for 2013, in which the UFS also participated, about half of South African employees suffer from four or more health risk factors (blood pressure, obesity). The worst is that almost 70% of employees in this group believe that they are both fit and healthy. Fifty-three percent of those employees do not go for the essential preventative health checkups.

However, this picture may change as a result of the annual medical screening tests for staff of the UFS, because risk factors such as high blood pressure, cholesterol and high blood sugar levels can be detected at an early stage.

The tests take about 30 minutes per person and include a physical test, as well as an electronic questionnaire. The entire process is very confidential.

This year there are also prizes up for grabs, such as a Nexa Polaris 7.0 tablet and travel bags, during each session.

TIME

Monday
9 September

Tuesday
10 September

Wednesday
11 September

Thursday
12 September

Friday
13 September

09:00 – 12:00 Winkie Direko Building, K139 Agriculture Building, Lecture Hall B and C Physical Resources Hall

Stef Coetzee Building,Committee Room

Agriculture Building, K8
12:00 – 15:30 Flippie Groenewoud Building, Lapa
  • Flippie Groenewoud Building K110
  • 12:00 - 14:00 Main Building K16
George du Toit Building, Large Committee Room (3rd floor)

Francois Retief Building, Reception area

Sasol Library, K 433

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