Professor Gita Ramjee, a South African scientist renowned for her work to expand women’s access to HIV treatment and prevention, died on the 31st March from complications related to COVID-19.
The HIV researcher fell ill after returning to South Africa in mid-March from the UK, where she had been presenting at a symposium at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
In a statement, Deputy President David Mabuza noted that Prof. 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 attempts to find an effective HIV vaccine.
"We have indeed lost a champion in the fight against the HIV epidemic, ironically at the hands of this global pandemic," he added.
"Gita was an inspirational role model for young scientists including women scientists in South Africa and beyond,” reads a statement from the LSHTM. “LSHTM is proud to have been associated with her and we send our deep condolences to her family and friends all over the world.”
Also to mourn Professor Gita was the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships (ECDTP) executive Director Dr Michael Makanga who said in his condolence message, “We have lost a long-serving member of our Scientific Advisory Committee and a dear and formidable colleague in the fight against infectious diseases. Prof. Gita Ramjee sadly succumbed to COVID-19, one more victim of this ravaging pandemic. This is a very heavy loss to the global scientific community and South Africa. We extend our sincere condolences to her family. May her soul rest in peace.”
She was acclaimed in the field of HIV prevention clinical trials and was acknowledged internationally for her expertise in the field of microbicide research, including a Lifetime Achievement Award for HIV Prevention.
In 2018, she was honored with the “Outstanding Female Scientist” Award by the EDCTP for her work focusing on finding new HIV prevention methods.
Photo courtesy / Google
Article by Jedidah Mwangi