The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation is deeply saddened by the news of Professor Gita Ramjee’s untimely passing due to complications arising from COVID-19. Professor Ramjee was Chief Scientific Officer at the Aurum Institute and former chief specialist scientist and director of the South African Medical Research Council’s HIV Prevention Unit. She was a fundamental figure in the pursuit of HIV prevention in South Africa and was tireless in her fight for better health solutions for women.
A world-renowned scientist, Professor Ramjee dedicated her life to finding effective HIV prevention methods and was a pioneer in the field of microbicide research. She was a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSA) and the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) and in 2018 she was honoured with the “Outstanding Female Scientist” Award by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships (EDCTP).
As a well-established and respected authority in the HIV/AIDS response, Gita was well known to many of us at the DTHF and as an individual, she epitomised the compassion we have as an organisation for both HIV prevention and women’s health. She was an accomplished, innovative leader in the HIV response and her ground-breaking research in prevention continues to contribute to communities across South Africa. She was also a beloved, wife, mother and grandmother. With her tragic passing, the world has lost a compassionate and dedicated leader, and has left a significant void in the world of HIV research and treatment.