Asthma Research
Professor Refiloe Masekela has received a global award for her asthma research to the tune of R45 million! Photo Credit: UKZN

A powerhouse professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal has earned a global award for R45 million, set to further her asthma research. She’s also the first Black African Female researcher to receive this award!


KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (23 May, 2023)— It’s a proud time for researchers in South Africa after one powerhouse professor made history. Professor Refiloe Masekela has received a global award for her asthma research to the tune of R45 million!

Prof Masekela is both the first Black African female to earn this award from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), and the first researcher from a low and middle-income country—making this a historic moment for South Africa, and a dose of hope for the future.

This award will help fund her research, which looks into accessible solutions for affordable asthma care across the African continent.

“Asthma affects 1 in 10 children globally and is the most common non-communicable disease (NCD) in children and adolescents. Sadly, in Africa, asthma is largely neglected with children suffering severe morbidity from asthma. Lack of access to a diagnosis of asthma as well as poor access to quality assured cost-effective medicines are key gaps in asthma care.

“My ultimate goal is that all children and adolescents with asthma in Africa should have equitable access to affordable and effective care.”—Professor Refiloe Masekela.

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s College of Health Sciences shares that the award will also help fund 3 doctoral candidates in clinical and health economics research, a bonus big victory!

Prof Masekela is a powerhouse professor, helping guide policies and highlight issues to do with lung health in Africa. She’s the director of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) Methods in Epidemiologic, Clinical and Operations Research (MECOR) Africa programme and the Vice President of the Pan African Thoracic Society, as well as the Head of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Well done to this incredible trailblazer!

Source: UKZN’s College of Health Sciences 
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Ashleigh Nefdt is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Ashleigh's favourite stories have always seen the hidden hero (without the cape) come to the rescue. As a journalist, her labour of love is finding those everyday heroes and spotlighting their spark - especially those empowering women, social upliftment movers, sustainability shakers and creatives with hearts of gold. When she's not working on a story, she's dedicated to her canvas or appreciating Mother Nature.

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