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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 gets more than R3 Million for HIV/Aids activities
2007-12-13

 

In the picture are some of the members of the project team. From the left are: Mr Pieter du Plessis (Finances), Ms Estelle Heideman (HIV/Aids Co-ordinator: Lengau Agri Development Centre) and Rev Jaftha.
 

UFS gets more than R3 Million for HIV/Aids activities

The Chief Directorate: Community Service at the University of the Free State (UFS) has received more than R3 million to intensify activities regarding HIV/AIDS at all UFS campuses for the next seventeen months.

Higher Education HIV/AIDS Programme (HEAIDS) contributed R3 127 207 and the UFS R615 116 towards this initiative. The money will be used to implement intervention strategies from 1 January 2008 to 31 May 2009.

“The mandate poses an extensive challenge and puts pressure on the institution, but at the same time creates some incredible opportunities for intervention,” said the Chief Director of Community Service and Project Co-ordinator, Rev. Kiepie Jaftha.

HEAIDS is a nationally co-ordinated initiative to develop and strengthen the capacity of South African higher education institutions to respond to the causes, challenges and consequences of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the sector. It is an initiative of the Department of Education and the implementing agency is Higher Education South Africa (HESA), an organisation representing vice-chancellors of tertiary institutions in South Africa.

The proposed areas and actions of intervention are categorised into three main components, namely:

- Prevention, treatment, care and support aimed at both students and staff on all UFS campuses.
Incorporation of HIV/AIDS issues into the teaching offerings of the UFS and the development of a formal policy in this regard.

- Implementation of an integrated management information system to empower stakeholders to make decisions and adapt actions by visualising facts, actions and progress on the overall HIV/AIDS programme.

The UFS met all the requirements of HEAIDS to qualify for this funding. A five-member team was formed to come up with a document entitled The Quest for an AIDS Competent Society that met the required standards.

“Each institution of higher learning had to identify and establish a project team, appoint a project leader, assign responsibilities to members of the team with different expertise, analyse the needs of the institution, and define and agree on projects in order to access the grant,” said Rev. Jaftha.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
13 December 2007

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