Microsoft founder Bill Gates has included South African professors Salim Abdool Karim and his wife Quarraisha on his heroes list for their role in the fight against HIV/Aids and Covid-19.
“Drawing on their experiences from HIV and TB, they are helping guide the Covid-19 response in South Africa and around the world. It is a shame that they haven’t been able to focus on HIV/Aids, but on the other hand, it is a reminder of how fighting old diseases like HIV helps the world prepare for new ones like Covid-19,” said Gates in his blog.
The couple are internationally renowned for their work at the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (Caprisa).
Gates said it was their “upbeat” attitude, even in the face of devastating viruses like the coronavirus and HIV, that struck him.
“Their motto at Caprisa is, ‘Each day that you come to work, you should be looking for how today is going to be better than yesterday.’ That is a lesson we can all take to heart,” said Gates.
Medical doctor Kopano Matlwa Mabaso is also on Gates’ list of heroes.
“To cope with the demands of medical school and the tragedy of what she was seeing all around her, Dr Matlwa Mabaso started writing her first novel,” Gates said.
Mabaso, according to Gates, leads the Grow Great campaign, a “sophisticated effort” to eliminate child stunting from SA over the next decade.
“Melinda and I have seen many stunted children in our travels. Sometimes we’re talking to a child who looks like one of our kids did at age three only to be told that the child is actually six or seven years old. It’s heartbreaking, and utterly preventable,” he said.