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Prof Coovadia stood against Mbeki and Tshabalala-Msimang when it was not fashionable: TAC

todayOctober 5, 2023 83

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The Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) says the late Professor Hoosen ‘Jerry’ Coovadia should be honoured for his hopes for an equitable health system for all.

The organisation is hailing the academic’s contribution to the struggle of saving lives as one for the books.

The 83-year-old struggle icon and HIV/AIDS activist passed away yesterday.

The anti-apartheid veteran broke through the barriers of racist rule to establish himself as a top pediatrician.

He then became an international authority on HIV/AIDS, especially mother-to-child transmission.

The organisation has hailed Coovadia as an independent thinker and a devoted leftist, who nurtured a generation of medical students.

“He incurred the wrath of Thabo Mbeki’s denialist government by insisting on scientific integrity and campaigning for the rollout of antiretroviral therapy.”

The Professor’s funeral took place on the day of his passing at the Riverside Mosque in Durban.

TAC’s national chairperson, Sbongile Tshabalala, says Coovadia will be remembered for fearlessly opposing Aids denialism in South Africa.

“As a person living openly with HIV, I am one of the many people whose life was positively influenced by him. The country has lost a true leader, a hero of the HIV/AIDS struggle,” she says.

Some say his legacy can be preserved by continuing the fight against new infections and for access to quality medicines.

Many including President Cyril Ramaphosa have shared moving tributes for the giant.

Ramaphosa says Coovadia’s globally acclaimed research into mother-to-child transmission of HIV has  rendered an immeasurable legacy to humanity.

“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.”

Written by: Lindiwe Mpanza

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