Cape Town | The South African Medical Research Council’s (SAMRC) Professor Gita Ramjee has been honoured with the “Outstanding Female Scientist” Award by the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships (EDCTP).
The Award is conferred to world-class female scientists in sub-Saharan Africa whose work involves research in the remit of the EDCTP2 programme, which conducts health-related clinical research to advance knowledge and improvement of poverty-related diseases. These include HIV, TB, malaria, neglected tropical diseases as well as other non-communicable diseases.
Professor Ramjee was recognised for her life’s work that has focused on finding new HIV prevention methods, which are conducive to the lifestyles, circumstances and perceived risk factors that South African women are faced with. Recent success has been the moderately effective vaginal ring for HIV prevention among women. Prof Ramjee’s KwaZulu-Natal based team hosts five of 20 HIV Vaccine Trial Network sites spread across the country, as a part of a global scientific journey to find an effective HIV vaccine. Her team is also testing a novel long acting injectable for the prevention of HIV in three communities across the greater Durban area.
“Study participants and our communities are the heartbeat of our scientific journey to find highly efficacious HIV prevention solutions,” says Professor Ramjee, who is also Unit Director at the SAMRC’s HIV Prevention Research Unit. “This award is an acknowledgement of the unwavering determination by a global community to forever change the trajectory of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” says Prof Ramjee.
Prof Ramjee adds that although glaring social constructs contribute to the inability for some women to negotiate safer sex, in the interest of their sexual health, thus disempowering them, it is necessary to actively involve men from the communities in HIV prevention studies. “Men are also a part of our scientific journey to find an effective HIV vaccine and other biomedical prevention options that can change the current social constructs that contribute to women being vulnerable.”
Professor Ramjee was honoured in Lisbon, Portugal on September 17, 2018 alongside other global academic giants.
“Professor Gita Ramjee is a towering HIV prevention research leader whose work continues to contribute immensely to the global response to curb the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Her work and that of her team is a human rights inspired journey,” says SAMRC President & CEO Professor Glenda Gray.
NOTE TO THE EDITOR:
The EDCTP2 is a European and Developing Clinical Trial Partnership funded by the European Commission through its Horizon 2020 programme. The goal of the EDCTP2 programme is to conduct health-related clinical research to advance knowledge and improvement of poverty-related diseases. The acknowledgement of Outstanding World Class Female Scientists is as a result of a stringent process by an expert review panel. The recommendation of the Selection Committee is then approved by the General Assembly consisting of the European Union North and South partners (consisting of representatives from several countries in Europe and Africa).
For more information about the European and Developing Clinical Trial Partnership: http://www.edctp.org/
About the SAMRC HIV Prevention Research Unit (HPRU): http://www.samrc.ac.za/intramural-research-units/HIV
Mail & Guardian Article - 28 September 2018
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