Obituary: Professor Hoosen Jerry Coovadia

Obituary: Professor Hoosen Jerry Coovadia

The NRF wishes to express its condolences to the family and friends of Professor Hoosen Jerry Coovadia, who passed away on Wednesday, 04 October 2023, at his home in Durban.

Prof Coovadia spent his life in service of the poor of South Africa while also advancing scientific knowledge for the benefit of humanity, which earned him the NRF’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014. He influenced the management of some key disorders of childhood in Africa and did original research on malnutrition, kidney diseases, and measles, among other infections.

He was internally recognised as a scholar for his work in the field of paediatric HIV/AIDS research, with a focus on mother-to-child transmission through breastfeeding, but also as a humanitarian for his leadership in the struggle against apartheid and his strong stance on contentious HIV/AIDS issues.

His career was extensive: he held various leadership positions and received numerous accolades over the years. Among those, were Honorary Doctorates from various universities; the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights; the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility; and the Order of the Star of SA for his contributions to democracy and health which was presented by former President Nelson Mandela.

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 for the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa; and Associate Scientific Director at CAPRISA, which is home to the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in HIV Prevention.

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