Top South African scientist dies of coronavirus
London, April 1, 2020 (AltAfrica)-A top South African scientist who has significantly worked in the area of HIV/AIDS has died of coronavirus complications.
The world-renowned scientist professor Gita Ramjee died on Tuesday, according to health officials in South Africa.
Local media reported that she recently returned home from a trip to London and was admitted with pneumonia to a hospital in Umhlanga, in KwaZulu-Natal province.
Ramjee worked extensively on ways of preventing HIV transmissions in women in South Africa.
Deeply saddened at the news of the passing of Gita Ramjee. An eminent scientist who dedicated her life to #HIV prevention for women & girls in #Africa & #EndingAIDS. A huge loss at a time when the world needs her most. My condolences to her family, friends & colleagues at @MRCza. https://t.co/cQpAJIrrRR— Winnie Byanyima (@Winnie_Byanyima) March 31, 2020
Professor Gita Ramjee's passing is an immense loss and has left an indelible— CAPRISA (@CAPRISAOfficial) April 1, 2020
void in HIV research and treatment, particularly on the African continent. On behalf of @CAPRISAOfficial I extend our heartfelt condolences to her family. Salim S Abdool Karim pic.twitter.com/yIahu58Ruz
She was the former chief specialist scientist and director of an HIV research unit at the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).
The organisation’s president and CEO, Glenda Gray said in an email to staff that “We are still reeling. What to say?”
“Gita was fundamental and inextricably linked to the endeavour to find solutions to prevent HIV in women in South Africa.
She was tireless in this pursuit. Her tenacity will never be forgotten. I have tremendous respect for her contribution and her passion to find solutions for women in our country.
All of us have worked so hard in this country to find solutions to prevent HIV and it so sad to have to part with someone so soon in this journey. I am devastated and my thoughts go out to her family and friends.”
Until her death professor Gita RamjeeShe was chief scientific officer at the Aurum Institute.
Prof Gavin Churchyard, CEO of the Aurum Institute also said “The world has lost a bold and compassionate leader in the response to HIV.”
“Gita Ramjee firmly believed in health as a fundamental human right. Her ground-breaking research in HIV prevention contributed to the global response to HIV and AIDS. Our thoughts during this difficult time are with her family, colleagues and the many people her life and work touched,” he added.
There have been other tributes from global institutional leaders in the health and research industry.