President Cyril Ramaphosa has expressed his heartfelt condolences to the family of Professor Hoosen Mahomed “Jerry” Coovadia, a leading scientist, health policy innovator, and anti-apartheid activist who has passed away at the age of 83 at his home in Durban.
The President described Coovadia as an outstanding scientist and committed anti-apartheid campaigner who dedicated himself to the liberation struggle.
The President has offered his deepest condolences to Coovadia’s wife Dr Zubeida Hamed, his son Prof Imraan Coovadia, and daughter Dr Anuschka Coovadia, on behalf of government and the nation.
The Prof, the President said, dedicated himself to the physical well-being and social inclusion of people all over the world through his enterprising mission as a scientist and architect of public health policies.
“His pioneering, globally acclaimed research into mother-to-child transmission of HIV has rendered an immeasurable legacy to humanity in terms of which persons living with HIV can live long and healthy lives subject to early detection and access to treatment.
“Our nation’s loss will be felt globally but we can take pride at and comfort from the emergence of a giant of science and an icon of compassion and resilience from our country,” the President added.
Although he faced numerous obstacles in apartheid South Africa, Coovadia established himself as a top paediatrician and became an international authority on HIV/AIDS, earning numerous awards and accolades throughout his career.
Those who have been paying their tribute have described his passing as a great loss to the scientific community and remarked that his contribution will always be remembered.
According to reports, he was appointed Associate Professor at the University of Natal now known as the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in 1982 and ad hominem Professor in 1986.
From 1990 to 2000, he served as Professor and Head of Paediatrics and Child Health at the UKZN.
Director of Biomedical Science at the Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking (HIVAN), and the scientific director of the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute at the Nelson Mandela School of Medicine at the UKZN.
He was awarded the 2013 AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility. He has also received the 1999 Star of South Africa Award from President Nelson Mandela and the 2000 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights.
The National Research Foundation (NRF), said during his career, he served as the Chairman of the Board of the UKZN Children’s Hospital Trust, a Commissioner for the National Planning Commission, and Associate Scientific Director at CAPRISA, which is home to the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in HIV Prevention.
Source: South African Government News Agency