Last Friday, the world lost a remarkable man and tireless champion for health in Africa.
Professor Bongani Mayosi was a loving husband, father, brother and son, a man of outstanding intellect and an exceptional cardiologist and researcher. Most recently, he was the Dean of the University of Cape Town Faculty of Health Sciences, President of the Pan African Society of Cardiology (2012-2017) and Chair of the World Heart Federation (WHF) Working Group on Rheumatic Heart Disease. In 2009, he was awarded his country’s highest honour, the Order of Mapungubwe. He passed away suddenly on Friday 27th July 2018 in Cape Town, at the age of 51.
Prof. Mayosi’s life goal was to improve the health of millions of people suffering from heart disease in Africa, with a specific focus on providing better treatment for tuberculosis and rheumatic heart disease patients with pericarditis. He led a ground-breaking series of multinational studies for the management of tuberculous pericarditis‚ including a pan-African trial on the use of steroids to treat this devastating condition. He also led a large-scale‚ multinational study on rheumatic heart disease, which emphasized the disease’s detrimental impact on the lives of those affected by it.
As president of the Pan African Society of Cardiology, Prof. Mayosi united clinicians and researchers from across the African continent in his extensive advocacy efforts. He frequently travelled from Cape Town to Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Sudan, and Yemen, among other places, to raise awareness among policy-makers about of the provision of appropriate care for patients suffering from rheumatic heart disease.
Prof. Mayosi worked closely with several WHF board members, including Prof. Salim Yusuf, Prof. Tom Gaziano, Prof. Karen Sliwa, and members of the WHF Rheumatic Heart Disease working group Prof. Liesl Zuhlke and Prof. Ana Mocumbi, among others. Many of us who knew him well will miss him greatly, and hope to honour his legacy by continuing his life‘s work of improving the lives of people suffering from rheumatic heart disease.
His contributions to science and advocacy for the poor in Africa will never be forgotten.