Deputy President David Mabuza, in his capacity as Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), wishes to convey condolences on the passing of former Chief Specialist Scientist and Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s (SAMRC) HIV Prevention Research Unit, Professor Gita Ramjee. Professor Ramjee succumbed to complications emanating from the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Professor Ramjee was renowned for her work on finding HIV prevention methods that were conducive to the lifestyles, circumstances and perceived risk factors that South African women face as well as in the attempts to find an effective HIV vaccine.
She was internationally recognised for her expertise in the field of microbicide research, including receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for HIV Prevention and honoured with the “Outstanding Female Scientist” Award by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships for her life’s work that has focused on finding new HIV prevention methods.
Additionally Professor Ramjee was a reviewer and editor of several scientific journals and a member of a number local and international committees and advisory groups, including the Academy of Science of South Africa and SANAC.
“The passing of Professor Ramjee comes as a huge blow to the entirety of the healthcare sector and the global fight against HIV/AIDS. In her, we have indeed lost a champion in the fight against the HIV epidemic, ironically at the hands of this global pandemic. In her honour, we should heed the call to flatten the curve by strengthening our responses to this global pandemic as well as continue the fight to achieve zero new HIV infections. We would like to convey our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Professor Ramjee as well as to the medical research community. May her soul rest in peace,” said Deputy President Mabuza.
Deputy President Mabuza further appealed to all South Africans to adhere to the regulations of the lockdown and ensure the spread of the novel coronavirus is halted and the battle against the virus is won.
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