National Health Minster Dr Aaron Motsoaledi will deliver the annual Steve Lawn Memorial Lecture on Tuesday, 02 April, at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine (IDM).
Hosted by the IDM and the Faculty of Health Sciences, along with the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), the annual lecture honours the late Steve Lawn, who was a professor of infectious diseases and tropical medicine at the LSHTM and UCT. He was also closely linked to the Desmond Tutu HIV Centre and was funded by the Wellcome Trust.
Lawn, who was well known for his pioneering work on the diagnosis and treatment of tuberculosis among populations affected by HIV/AIDS, died in 2016.
This year's recepient, Dr Christine Sekaggya-Wiltshire leads the tuberculosis and HIV clinic at the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. The Lancet profile describes how Dr Sekaggya-Wiltshire started her career with a qualification in medicine in 2006 at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, and began work at Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala. She then developed an enthusiasm for evidence-based medicine and research, which she combines with her commitment to patient care.
Dr Sekaggya-Wiltshire currently supervises care for complex cases of TB that are referred from health centres, and has conducted various research studies, including studying the relationship between levels of anti-tuberculosis drugs in blood and patient outcome, and looking at the safety and efficacy of high dose rifampicin in HIV-infected patients.
Speaking in the article, Andrew Kambugu, Executive Director of the IDI at Makerere, says of Dr Sekaggya-Wiltshire, “She has a passion for teaching and mentoring the next generation”, he adds “Her motivation is to excite others about the value of research.”
And Christine praised the award's impact herself:
'In 2018, I was awarded the Stephen Lawn Tuberculosis Research Leadership award. Almost every tuberculosis researcher knew Stephen so wherever I went, I was introduced as the “Stephen Lawn Research Leadership awardee”. This was frequently followed by admiration of my accomplishment and a conversation about something nice they remember about Stephen. In the last year, I have won two research grants, one of which I am the lead investigator. I continue to conduct research in tuberculosis and mentor other scientist to build their career in research.'