Wednesday, 01 April 2020

Pretoria: South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) Chairperson, Deputy President David Mabuza, has conveyed condolences on the passing of Professor Gita Ramjee.

Professor Ramjee was the former Chief Specialist Scientist and Director of the South African Medical Research Council’s (SAMRC) HIV Prevention Research Unit.

She succumbed to complications emanating from the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19.

“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.

“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 the Deputy President.

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.

Internationally recognised for her expertise in the field of microbicide research, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award for HIV Prevention.

Ramjee was also 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.

In honour of Professor Ramjee, the Deputy President appealed to all South Africans to adhere to the regulations of the 21-day lockdown to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is halted and the battle against the virus is won.

“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.” he said.