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CT-based paediatric cardiologist scoops coveted medical research award

Professor Liezl Zühlke recently scooped the African Research Leader Award for her work done regarding cardiovascular disease in children.

Paediatric cardiologist Associate Professor Liesl Zühlke. Picture: www.health.uct.ac.za.

CAPE TOWN - A Cape Town-based paediatric cardiologist has walked away with a coveted medical research award.

Professor Liesl Zühlke recently scooped the African Research Leader Award for her work done regarding cardiovascular disease in children.

The project is jointly funded by the South African Medical Research Council and the United Kingdom’s Department of International Development.

It promotes research leadership across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The prize money of just over R14.5 million will enable Zühlke to continue her research over the next five years on rheumatic heart disease, cardiac diseases associated with HIV and antiretroviral therapy, as well as congenital heart disease.

Knowledge gained during these studies will be used to improve patient care.

Experts say one in 100 children worldwide suffers from congenital heart disease.

“The heart comprises four chambers; some children are born only with two or three. The way we treat those is relatively complicated. And we’re going to look at that in a much more detailed fashion and see maybe there’s something we can change to improve the outcome,” says Zühlke, who’s based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.