Professor James Gita Hakim was a Ugandan prominent and foremost heart specialist physician in Zimbabwe. He was a professor of medicine and past chair of the UZ Medical School. He died from Coronavirus related complications.
He was a Professor of Medicine; formerly Chair of Medicine at the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences. In addition he was the Director of the University of Zimbabwe Clinical Research Centre and a Co-PI in the UZ-UCSF Collaborative Research Program, two programs which are involved in HIV/AIDS research including antiretroviral therapy, prevention, opportunistic infections and perinatal HIV. He was the Principal Investigator of the UZ Medical Education Partnership Initiative-NECTAR, a PEPFAR and NIH funded programme (2010-2016), whose goal was to improve medical education capacity and research capacity strengthening to cope with the heavy burden of all diseases, especially HIV/AIDS in Africa.
Dr Hakim studied medicine at the University of Makerere in Uganda and specialised in internal medicine at University of Nairobi, Kenya (MMed-internal medicine); Royal Colleges of Physicians UK (MRCP-UK); University of Newcastle, Australia (MMedSci-Clinical Epidemiology); University of Cape Town (Health Professions Education). He did a post-doc in Cardiology at Aachen, Germany. He was a fellow of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of London and Edinburgh. He was also nominated for an award of a Doctor of Science in Medicine from University College London at a graduation ceremony in July 2016.
He was an active clinician with interest in HIV Aids preventative and therapeutic research including co- infections. Dr Hakim held a number of positions and portfolios in various local, regional and international bodies. In 2019, he received the Ward Cates Spirit award in the US for his outstanding commitment and leadership to health, scientific excellence and generosity in mentorship and support. He was formerly head of the University of Zimbabwe College of Health Sciences and director of the University of Zimbabwe Clinical Research Centre. He trained a number of the country’s prominent medical experts.
He had diverse research interests in HIV/AIDS including antiretroviral therapy, prevention, opportunistic Infections and long term complications of HIV/AIDS. He was also involved in seminal HIV research through funding and collaboration with MRC-CTU (UK), NIH (USA), EDCTP (Europe), Rockefeller Foundation, DIFD, Wellcome Trust, etc. He authored/coauthored more than 150 articles, book chapters and scientific communications. He was a member of the following organizations:
- WHO Adult & Adolescent Guidelines Review 2009/2010 chair of International Committee
- IAS-I participate as a reviewer and chair in IAS and World AIDS meetings
- UNAIDS Advisory Committee member-2014-to date
- CROI-I was a program committee member-2007-2013
- Glasgow HIV Therapy program member-2006-to date
- INTEREST meeting-chair Lusaka meeting 2014. Local host and chair Harare meeting May 2015
- ICASA 2015-Host and Local chair 2015 meeting
- ACTG and HPTN/DIADS networks member conducted/conducting up to 15 clinical trials
- NACCAP (Netherlands)-program committee member 2006-2016
- Editorial Board Clinical Infectious Diseases-2007-to date
He was an adjunct professor at the University of Colorado, Denver and Director of the UZ Clinical Research Centre. He was a Principal Investigator/Site Leader within the Harare based UZ-University of California San Francisco Clinical Trials Unit. He was also the Programme Director of the PERFECT Programme, an NIH-sponsored advanced junior faculty research training initiative at UZCHS. He was the PI of the Zimbabwe MEPI (Medical Education Partnership Initiative) award (2010-2016) and was the Chair of the MEPI PI Council (2014-2015) which brought together the 13 Sub-Saharan African MEPI medical schools. Hakim is a member of the UNAIDS expert committee on HIV/AIDS and was recently elected as an African representative on the International AIDS Society Governing Council. His research interests span cardiovascular diseases, HIV, TB and related diseases and health systems.