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Seychelles-born doctor recognised in South Africa for HIV/AIDS care

Victoria, Seychelles | December 1, 2016, Thursday @ 13:25 in National » HEALTH | By: Patsy Athanase and Sharon Uranie | Views: 3354
Seychelles-born doctor recognised in South Africa for HIV/AIDS care

Dr. Osman Ebrahim (middle) being presented with his award last Friday. (Dr. Osman Ebrahim) 

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(Seychelles News Agency) - A Seychellois medical doctor living and working in South Africa has been recognised for his work with HIV/AIDS patients as well as his research and teaching on the issue.

Dr. Osman Ebrahim on Wednesday described being presented with the Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award as a life-time achievement and a humbling experience.

Dr. Ebrahim, who has been living and practicing medicine in South Africa for the past 35 years, was among four recipients of the 2016 Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award. The award ceremony was held last Friday at the University of Johannesburg.

The Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award was initiated by the University of Johannesburg in 2011. It recognises ‘outstanding contributions’ made by individuals over an extended period of time, beyond the limits of teaching and research, to promote the well-being of the higher education sector, and society in respect of matters of particular interest to the university.

The award is in honour of South Africa’s women’s rights activist and politician, Ellen Kuzwayo, who died in 2006.  Kzwayo who served as president of the African National Congress Youth League in the 1960s, was also elected as a member of the first post-apartheid South African Parliament 1994. She was also the first black woman to receive an honorary degree from South Africa’s University of Witwatersrand.

In an email interview with SNA on Wednesday, Dr Ebrahim said he was selected for the award “for my trailblazing compassionate care of people affected by AIDS and improvements in HIV treatment through research and teaching.”

Dr. Ebrahim -- an HIV medicine and infectious disease specialist -- was among only a few clinicians who made his practice in Johannesburg available to HIV/AIDS patients in the early 1980s when the disease was still new to many.

He explained that he provided medical information to his patients and provided holistic HIV/AIDS care, including treatment and monitoring, as well as providing patients with dietary information that would support their immune system.

He also assisted patients to link with ‘Aid for AIDS’ -- a programme aimed at negotiating for cheaper antiretroviral rates with medical aid companies.

The Seychellois doctor also acted as lead author on many publications that addressed practical matters for HIV/AIDS treatment improvement.

Dr. Ebrahim, 60, was born in Seychelles in 1956. He moved to South Africa in 1982, where he presently resides with his family.

He is currently working in a private practice in Johannesburg. He also teaches doctors the University of Pretoria and University of Witwatersrand, as well as teaching general practitioners after hours, on the challenges of treating HIV.

Commenting on the HIV situation in South Africa, Dr Ebrahim said that one in four people there have HIV.

“And this is the main reason why I have stayed in this country because I am involved currently with research that is looking for a “functional cure” of HIV,” he told SNA.

Dr. Ebrahim said that although he has not kept abreast with the epidemic in Seychelles, he would gladly provide his expertise if needed.

In 2007, he wrote a report, which was used towards formulating the National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS of the island nation.

Other than his achievements in HIV/AIDS research and teaching, in 1997, he was also recognized for his research work on the Anaemia of tuberculosis, where he was awarded the Bernard Pimstone Prize, which allowed him to undertake further studies at Oxford University Institute of Molecular Medicine.

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Tags: Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award, HIV, AIDS, South Africa, University of Johannesburg, Dr. Osman Ebrahim

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