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SAMRC’s Forgotten Agenda researcher Dr Jacques Lloyd passes on, leaving a legacy of championing the rights and well-being for persons with disabilities

Dr Jacques Lloyd pictured in solidarity at the World Aids conference, Durban 2016

Dr Jacques Lloyd pictured in solidarity at the World Aids conference, Durban 2016

As South Africa prepares to commemorate Human Rights Day on March 21, the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) is mourning the loss of one of its champions for human rights. Dr. Jacques Lloyd, a disability rights advocate and researcher known for his unwavering dedication to advocating for the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities, passed away recently, leaving behind a legacy of impactful work.

Dr. Lloyd's commitment to advancing the basic human rights of people with disabilities was unparalleled. Throughout his career, he led numerous advocacy initiatives aimed at raising awareness about the healthcare needs of this marginalised community. From highlighting the increased vulnerability of people with disabilities to HIV and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) to advocating for their inclusion in the response to various social and health programmes, Dr. Lloyd's efforts were tireless and far-reaching.

The manner in which he imparted his knowledge was proactive, he emphasised on the importance of people with newly developed disabilities to understand their bodies, rights and opportunities to live independent. He utilised research to advocate for evidence-based practice, yet was interested in people behind the statistics. He has been instrumental to the Disability Networking Zone and annual zone that raises awareness for disability inclusion in the HIV response whether at the International Conference on Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa (ICASA) or the International World Aids conference. He has also been instrumental as the leader of the disability sector at South African National Aids Council (SANAC) in advocating for a disability inclusive national strategic plan on HIV, TB and STIs.

Prof Jill Hanass Hancock from the SAMRC’s Gender and Health Research Unit expressed, “Dr Lloyd always appreciated evidence led responses and science. He was a warm caring person, that was able to see beyond himself like very few people, he connected people for the better of everyone and he certainly never gave up. He was a person with disability himself and a great advocate for peer-to-peer support. He was a true advocate for people-centered care.”

Through his research in collaboration with the SAMRC, Dr Jacques Lloyd further championed the rights of those with disabilities needing access to necessary services related to sexual reproductive health and rights. In recognition of his policy and programme translation work in the Forgotten Agenda study, Dr Lloyd was bestowed with the Discovery Health Clinical Excellence Award – for Track 6: Policy, Finance and Ethics – during the 11th SA AIDS Conference which was held in Durban last year.

Dr Lloyd was a well-respected researcher and well-loved member of the disability sector, who approached life and disability rights holistically and positively. His presentations inspired the minds of his peers to improve their research and incorporate disability rights into both their work and everyday lives. His legacy remains a solid foundation that can be built on through impeccable research, strong collaboration and attitudinal shifts regarding people with disabilities accessing sexual reproductive health and rights services.

The SAMRC community would like to extend its sincere condolences to Dr Lloyd’s family and friends, as well as honour his legacy of impactful research around HIV, TB and GBV on the African continent.

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