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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

Dean of Health Sciences receives prestigious international fellowship
2015-11-11



Dean of the Faculty of Health Science,
Prof Gert van Zyl

The Dean of our Faculty of Health Science, Prof Gert van Zyl, was admitted as an Inaugural Fellow of the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) at the annual conference in Glasgow.

This fellowship recognises members of AMEE who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to excellence in health professional education through scholarly contributions to the field over at least five years. Prof Van Zyl was honored with a Fellowship for his senior role related to education at the UFS, including his scholarly contributions. “This was an enormous privilege for me to be awarded the AMEE full Fellowship as one of only two South Africans to receive this honour from a prestigious organisation such as the AMEE. It also gives credit to the excellent work done by the team in the South African Association of Health Educationalists (SAAHE), and the Health Science Education team in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the UFS. All the leadership, hard work, and excellence over many years are acknowledged with this Fellowship. My appreciation to colleagues that motivated and inspired me during my academic journey to achieve this fellowship,” says Prof Van Zyl.

In seeking Fellowship of AMEE, applicants make a commitment to continue their leadership and the promotion of scholarship in health professional education into the future, as well as to the ongoing mentorship and development of more junior members who aspire to recognition at Associate Fellow or Fellow level. Fellows are expected to contribute actively to AMEE activities.

Prof Van Zyl was also recently appointed by the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, as Council Member representing Higher Education on the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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