Farewell to a great man

29 Jan, 2021

Penta joins our colleagues across the world in mourning the passing of our friend and research collaborator, Professor James Hakim, who died on 26 January 2021 from COVID-19 complications. He will be greatly missed by all those who had the privilege of knowing him.

Professor Hakim was a prominent figure and pathfinder in the field of TB, HIV/AIDS and clinical research in Africa and his passing comes at a time where the importance of bringing HIV to the forefront has never been more significant for the world’s ability to achieve an HIV free generation. We will forever be indebted to him for his contribution.

He played a major role in developing paediatric trialists in Zimbabwe who have collaborated with Penta and MRC CTU on trials addressing important questions on treatment for children with HIV (ODYSSEY, CHAPAS 4), TB (SURE) and bacterial infections (PediCAP). He was a leading figure in the MARC CTU led DART trial, which was instrumental in the introduction of antiretroviral therapy in Africa and REALITY trial evaluating treatment of advanced HIV disease.

In 2016, James was awarded an honorary degree from UCL in recognition of his enormous contribution to research. As a leading African scientist, Professor Hakim was always in huge demand as a plenary speaker at major international conferences, as a member of think tanks, WHO guideline committees and grant-giving bodies. Many have commented on his amazing input into training and mentorship of young Zimbabweans.

We will all miss his leadership, wisdom and friendship. Our condolences go out to his wife and family.  We thank him, honour his immense contribution to HIV/AIDS and take his legacy forward.

Listen to a tribute to James, broadcast on BBC Focus on Africa