Professor Ute Feucht

Professor Ute Feucht is the Director of the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Research Centre for Maternal, Fetal, Newborn and Child Health Care Strategies and of the South African Medical Research Council’s Maternal and Infant Health Care Strategies Unit, which is based at UP.

Prof Feucht has a joint appointment in Gauteng, where she works as a paediatrician as part of the Tshwane District Clinical Specialist Team, a multi-disciplinary unit of specialists tasked with improving maternal and child health services, and outcomes at district level.

She graduated in 1995 with a degree in Medicine (cum laude) from Stellenbosch University and specialised in Paediatrics at UP, before obtaining her PhD in Paediatrics at Stellenbosch University.

Prof Feucht’s research addresses broad questions of child health, with a focus on the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, paediatric HIV treatment and care, childhood nutrition and growth, and improving childhood morbidity and mortality. She also works on the development of data systems to improve clinical care and monitor health outcomes. Much of her work is informed by the “survive, thrive, transform” principle, with the ultimate goal of improving the outcomes of children and their families within the communities she works in, in South Africa and beyond.

The work of UP’s Research Centre for Maternal, Infant and Child Health Care Strategies is a collaboration between Obstetrics, Paediatrics, Nutrition, Immunology and Health Care Provision, with a strong nation-wide implementation and research footprint. The centre also works very closely with national and provincial departments of health.
The centre aims to be a leader in the field of perinatal healthcare by improving the neurodevelopment of children and seeking saleable, sustainable solutions to prevent maternal, foetal, newborn and child morbidity and mortality in the primary and secondary levels of care.

Being part of the Umbiflow research team has been a recent research highlight for Prof Feucht. The obstetric section of this work has shown the UmbiflowTM device – a continuous-wave Doppler ultrasound – to be a groundbreaking innovation in the detection and prevention of foetuses that are at risk of stillbirth. A pilot study has been established in nine sites in South Africa. The extension of this work into the paediatric and nutrition fields has highlighted the ability of this device to detect previously undetected in utero growth restriction and has introduced a new, exciting field of research.

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Research by Professor Ute Feucht

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