PRETORIA, 11 April 2021 – The South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) mourns the passing of Dr Sindi van Zyl who succumbed to COVID-19 related complications. Dr Van Zyl served on SANAC’s Technical Task Team for Social Behaviour Change Communication.
Dr Sindi, as she was affectionately known, led various campaigns with SANAC, the latest being the #Covered24/7 digital campaign during the peak of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. The campaign was aimed at encouraging people to adhere to HIV and TB treatment to maintain stronger immune systems that would enable them to withstand a potential COVID-19 infection. The campaign was also aimed at addressing misinformation about the interaction of COVID-19 with HIV and TB. Her background as a medical doctor, HIV management specialist, renowned social media influencer and health activist, Dr Sindi was instrumental in driving the campaign. She hosted live interactive sessions on Facebook and Instagram where thousands of South Africans shared their concerns and sought clarity on a variety of issues pertaining to HIV, TB and COVID-19 in real time.
As a member of the Social Behaviour Change Technical Task Team, she provided valuable insight into how to design messages to facilitate social behaviour change in communities – in an effort to end HIV, TB and STIs as public health threats.
“Dr Sindi’s death is not just a loss to the HIV management space and the medical fraternity, it is a loss to all South Africans whom she interacted with in many spaces. She was an influencer, a socialite and a respected healthy lifestyle advocate. She indeed leaves a great void that can never be filled. As SANAC, we convey our deepest condolences to her family, friends and all South Africans united to grieve this great loss to our nation,” said Dr. Thembisile Xulu, the CEO of SANAC.
For media queries, please contact Nelson Dlamini, SANAC Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org / 078 731 0313