Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl. Picture supplied
Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl. Picture supplied

Renowned Aids activist dies from Covid-19

By Zainul Dawood Time of article published Apr 12, 2021

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DURBAN - THE SA National Aids Council (Sanac) mourned the passing of Dr Sindisiwe van Zyl, 45, who succumbed to Covid-19 related complications on Saturday.

Her husband Marinus van Zyl said she was admitted to a Johannesburg hospital in February due to trouble breathing.

Van Zyl served on Sanac’s Technical Task Team for Social Behaviour Change Communication.

Sanac spokesperson Nelson Dlamini said Dr Sindi, as she was affectionately-known, led various campaigns, the latest being the #Covered24/7 digital campaign during the peak of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

The campaign was aimed at encouraging people to adhere to HIV and TB treatment to maintain stronger immune systems that would enable them to withstand a potential Covid-19 infection.

The campaign was also aimed at addressing misinformation about the interaction of Covid-19 with HIV and TB.

Dlamini said her background as a medical doctor, HIV management specialist, renowned social media influencer and health activist made her instrumental in driving the campaign.

“She hosted live interactive sessions on Facebook and Instagram where thousands of South Africans shared their concerns and sought clarity on a variety of issues pertaining to HIV, TB and Covid-19 in real time. As a member of the Social Behaviour Change Technical Task Team, she provided valuable insight into how to design messages to facilitate social behaviour change in communities in an effort to end HIV, TB and STIs as public health threats,”Dlamini said.

Sanec chief executive Dr Thembisile Xulu said Dr Sindi’s death was not just a loss to the HIV management space and the medical fraternity, but also a loss to all South Africans whom she interacted with in many spaces.

“She was an influencer, a socialite and a respected healthy lifestyle advocate. She indeed leaves a great void that can never be filled,” Xulu said.

“She knew from the age of four that she always wanted to help people as a medical doctor. Sindi always offered support and great advice to educate those around her. Not only was she a beacon of love and light on her Kaya FM show Sidebar with Sindi and all her social media platforms, but she genuinely loved and gave endlessly to all she knew with grace and kindness,” her husband said.

She also leaves behind her two children Nandi and Manie.

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