Agriculture, Environment & Innovations Editor
Dr James Gita Hakim, Zimbabwe’s eminent and prominent heart physician, has died from complications related to Covid-19.
He was professor of medicine and former president of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Zimbabwe.
As news of his death leaked yesterday, there was a wave of grief as the medical fraternity paid tribute to Dr Hakim.
Dr Christopher Samkange, a veteran surgeon and director of the Institute for Continuing Health Education at the University of Zimbabwe (ICHE), described Dr Hakim’s death as a blow to the country.
“Today we lost Professor James Gita Hakim,” he said. “Professor Hakim was an exceptional physician. He was an exceptional physician, a fantastic diagnostician and easily took care of his patients deeply, but never hesitating to ask if we couldn’t do better.
“He was a committed teacher, never thinking that too much could be done for the students; a mentor whose engagement in the development of the interns will take some time. He was a natural researcher: unique in that ‘he wanted every colleague to reach their full potential.
“He wrote so many articles, was respected and cherished in the region, the continent and around the world. He founded organizations and institutions that developed medicine, our country and our continent. Although he had to leave his native Sudan at a young age, he never forgot it in his works and he did a lot more for Zimbabwe than some of us.
“He will be remembered as a giant, so humble, so imposing and yet so down to earth and of shatteringly relevant relevance. He left a void that will be so difficult to fill. Our sincere gratitude to his family for sharing it with us; we pray that they will be comforted in this very difficult time. “
Dr Norman Matara said: “We have lost a great professor of medicine, a teacher, a researcher, and above all a humble and good person. It is a huge loss for the nation. Come on well professor, your contribution to science and medicine will forever be priceless – heartbroken. ” Dr Hakim studied medicine at Makerere University in Uganda and specialized in internal medicine in Kenya, UK, Germany, Australia and South Africa. He was an active clinician interested in preventive and therapeutic research in HIV and AIDS, including co-infections.
Dr Hakim has held several positions and portfolios in various local, regional and international organizations. In 2019, he received the Ward Cates Spirit Award in the United States for his outstanding commitment and leadership in health, scientific excellence, and generosity in mentoring and support. He was previously Director of the College of Health Sciences at UZ and Director of the Clinical Research Center at UZ.
He has trained a number of the country’s leading medical experts.
In recent weeks, Zimbabwe has lost a number of frontline healthcare workers to the raging Covid-19 pandemic.