Grief after Covid-19 claims life of top SA medic Dr Arthi Ramkissoon

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Jan 19, 2021

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Durban - Condolences are pouring in following the death of prominent Durban doctor Arthi Ramkissoon, who died on Monday after succumbing to Covid-19.

Ramkissoon, who was the founder and executive director of Maternal, Adolescent & Child Health (MatCH), was also the CEO of KZN Children’s Hospital Trust – a passion of hers that saw her get a R50 million donation from Sir Elton John in 2017. The flag-ship project exceeds R500m.

According to her professional biography, Ramkisson had more than 20 years’ experience in supporting the delivery of South African public sector HIV, TB, maternal, child and women’s health programmes, improving access to health services, quality of care and health systems strengthening interventions.

Through her leadership, MatCH has initiated over 330,000 people on antiretroviral treatment (86% retention in care since 2004) and completed more than 100,000 medical male circumcisions for HIV prevention to date.

Durban film-maker Anant Singh said he was devastated to learn of Dr Arthi Ramkissoon’s death, describing her as a committed medical professional who had made a significant impact in the fight against HIV/Aids.

He said that in recent years the KZN Children’s Hospital became her passion project and almost single-handedly drove the project and raised much-needed funds to ensure that the dream of resurrecting the hospital came to fruition.

“One of the coups she scored was the support of Sir Elton John and the Elton John AIDS Foundation through which R50 million was raised for the hospital.

’’She also secured a significant donation of R6 million from the Victor Daitz Foundation for the establishment of a psychiatric ward at the hospital,” Singh said.

Lindiwe Nyathikazi (KZN Children’s Hospital Trust youth ambassador), Sir Elton John and Dr Arthi Ramkissoon (Founder & CEO, KZN Children’s Hospital Trust). Picture: Supplied

“I was fortunate to have experienced her steadfast commitment to the Children’s Hospital and I was in awe of her passion and tenacity in making the dream of the new KZN Children’s Hospital a reality. Thousands of children will benefit from the services that the hospital provides and the KZN Children’s Hospital will stand as her legacy and a reminder of the sterling work she did.

“Our sincere and heartfelt condolences to her husband, Dr Prakash Jugnundan, their daughters and the Ramkissoon family. We wish them strength and fortitude during this difficult time of bereavement,” he said.

IOL

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