Sandra Pretorius is an instructor for the HEDUAfrica project.
Pretorius completed her BDietetics undergraduate studies at the University of Pretoria in 1992, a postgraduate diploma in hospital dietetics in 1995 and a Masters degree in rehabilitation, MPhil Rehab, at the University of Stellenbosch in 2010, with the title, ‘Food choices and macro- and micronutrient intake of Sowetans with heart failure’.
She started working as a dietician at the Soweto Cardiovascular Research Unit and the ‘Heart of Soweto Study’ (HOS) in 2006. In 2007, she undertook a pilot study as part of the HOS study, investigating the food choices of 50 consecutive patients presenting with heart failure, at the heart failure clinic, at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Data from this study was presented at SA Heart Congress (2007), an abstract was published in the SAMJ (2007) and the results of this study have since been written up and published in the Cardiovascular Journal of Africa (CVJA), 2011.
Pretorius’ Masters research thesis evolved from this, to describe the food choices and macro- and micronutrient intake of 100 randomised Sowetans with heart failure who visited the cardiology clinic at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
In 2009 she initiated a Heart Failure Management Programme as part of the HOS. The aim of this programme was to develop a specific, culturally appropriate and affordable management programme for people living with heart failure in Soweto.
Pretorius was the co-ordinator for the University of the Witwatersrand Research Thrusts (Diseases of Lifestyle & Molecular Biosciences) from August 2009 until July 2011, and is currently enrolled for a full-time PhD at the University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Health Sciences, and the recipient of an NIH (USA) Millennium Leadership Training Programme on Non-communicable Diseases scholarship from the University of the Witwatersrand. The title of her research proposal is ‘Community-based intervention programmes for the prevention of chronic non-communicable diseases in Soweto’.