Professor James G. Hakim

Feb 02, 2021

1954 – 2021

Professor James G. Hakim

The world lost an African medical legend when Dr. James Hakim passed away in Harare, Zimbabwe on January 26, 2021 after battling COVID-19. His death marks an enormous loss to Africa and low- and middle-income countries around the world. His contributions to science and medicine were invaluable. He was an exceptional physician, a brilliant researcher, and a committed teacher. He was a humble and respected person, both in the medical and patient communities.

Dr. Hakim studied medicine at the University of Makerere in Uganda (MBChB) and specialized in internal medicine in Kenya (MMed-internal medicine), at Royal Colleges of Physicians UK (MRCP-UK); University of Newcastle, Australia (MMedSci-Clinical Epidemiology); and at University of Cape Town (Health Professions Education). He did a post-doctorate in Cardiology at Aachen, Germany and was a fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of London and Edinburgh.

Dr. Hakim was the Professor of Medicine, formerly Chair of Medicine, at the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences. In addition, he was the Director of the UZ Clinical Research Centre and a co-PI in the UZ-UCSF Collaborative Research Program. He was engaged in a broad range of HIV/AIDS research, including ARV therapy, prevention, opportunistic infections, and perinatal HIV.

Dr. Hakim was the CRS leader of one of the initial ACTG International sites established in the early 2000s, now known as the Milton Park Clinical Research Site in Harare. He played a key role in advancing the ACTG’s original international science agenda and was one of the co-chairs for the ACTG’s flagship international study, A5175 (Once-Daily PI + Non-NRTI Regimens for Initial Tx in Resource-Limited Settings).

Dr. Hakim was a member of the ACTG Executive Committee at the time of his passing. Previously, he was a member of the Scientific Agenda Steering Committee and Antiretroviral Therapy Strategies Transformation Science Group. He authored numerous ACTG Publications. He authored and co-authored more than 200 manuscripts and book chapters and was most loved for his passion for mentorship and for promoting younger investigators.

He was involved in seminal HIV research in collaboration with MRC-CTU (UK), NIH (USA), EDCTP (Europe), Rockefeller Foundation, DIFD, and Wellcome Trust. He was the PI of the UZ Medical Education Partnership Initiative- NECTAR, a PEPFAR and NIH-funded program (2010-2016), which aimed to improve medical education capacity and research capacity strengthening to cope with the heavy burden of all diseases, especially HIV/AIDS in Africa. In 2019, he received the Ward Cates Spirit Award for his outstanding commitment and leadership to health, scientific excellence, and generosity in mentorship and support.

Dr. Hakim was a dear friend and a respected collaborator. Dear James, we cannot get our minds around losing you. Rest in peace.