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Remembering Professor Hoosen Mahomed “Jerry” Coovadia: A Pioneer in Science and a Champion for Equality

by Central News Reporter
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Remembering Professor Hoosen Mahomed "Jerry" Coovadia: A Pioneer in Science and a Champion for Equality

President Cyril Ramaphosa Extends Condolences to the Family of Renowned Activist and Scientist

President Cyril Ramaphosa expressed his heartfelt condolences to the family of Professor Hoosen Mahomed “Jerry” Coovadia, a distinguished scientist, health policy innovator, and anti-apartheid activist who recently passed away at the age of 83 in Durban.

In a statement, President Ramaphosa described Coovadia as not only an outstanding scientist but also a committed anti-apartheid campaigner who dedicated his life to the liberation struggle. The President offered his deepest sympathies to Coovadia’s wife, Dr. Zubeida Hamed, his son, Prof. Imraan Coovadia, and his daughter, Dr. Anuschka Coovadia, on behalf of the government and the nation.

Throughout his impactful career, Professor Coovadia tirelessly worked towards improving the physical well-being and social inclusion of people worldwide as a highly regarded scientist and architect of public health policies. His pioneering research on mother-to-child transmission of HIV has left an indelible mark, enabling individuals living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives through early detection and access to treatment.

President Ramaphosa further emphasized that although Coovadia faced numerous challenges during the apartheid era, he established himself as a leading pediatrician and international authority on HIV/AIDS, earning recognition and accolades for his groundbreaking contributions.

The passing of Professor Coovadia is being mourned by the scientific community, who recognize his invaluable contribution to their field. His impact will forever be remembered.

Coovadia’s distinguished career includes being appointed as an Associate Professor at the University of Natal (now known as the University of KwaZulu-Natal or UKZN) in 1982, followed by becoming an ad hominem Professor in 1986.


From 1990 to 2000, he served as Professor and Head of Paediatrics and Child Health at UKZN. He also held prominent positions as the Director of Biomedical Science at the Centre for HIV/AIDS Networking (HIVAN) and as the scientific director of the Doris Duke Medical Research Institute.

In recognition of his outstanding achievements, Coovadia was awarded the prestigious 2013 AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility. He 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) highlighted various influential roles that Coovadia held throughout his career, including Chairman of the Board of the UKZN Children’s Hospital Trust, Commissioner for the National Planning Commission, and Associate Scientific Director at CAPRISA, home to the DSI-NRF Centre of Excellence in HIV Prevention

President Cyril Ramaphosa




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