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TRIBUTE: East London HIV/Aids pioneer Dr Clarence Mini

East London-born chair of the Council for Medical Schemes, Dr Clarence Mini, who died of Covid-19 last week, was a giant of the South African medical fraternity, credited with writing HIV policy and helping to bring down to price of antiretrovirals and making them more accessible.

Born in East London on 6 November 1951, he attended Healdtown College and qualified as a medical doctor in Bulgaria.

After stints as a general practitioner in Harare and Australia, Mini returned to South Africa, and a position at Frere Hospital.

He later served as the principal medical of the then-Port Elizabeth municipality, before being appointed national director for Family Health International.

He was involved in developing Aids policy work for the ANC, worked for several international HIV/Aids organisations and ran a surgery which treated Aids patients for free.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, in paying tribute to Dr Mini, described him as an extraordinary leader who committed his life to democratising healthcare and fighting for the rights of people living with HIV.

"His untimely departure is made more poignant by the fact that he succumbed to the greatest threat in living memory to public health around the world as a time when medical schemes are integral to our efforts to secure equitable access to care for unprecedented numbers of affected persons.”

Mini was co-chair of the National Aids Convention of South Africa (Nacosa) which wrote the first National HIV/Aids Plan for SA in 1994.

Dr Mini studied palliative care at the University of Cape Town and served on the board of directors for the Hospice Palliative Care Association and as executive director of the MESAB Palliative Care Initiative.

He was a member of the core team that wrote the latest HIV/Aids National Strategic Plan, a past president of the Gauteng Medical Association, and the chair of the Gauteng Health Facility Accreditation Committee.

He also served on the Board of the Institute for Human Evolution at Wits University and as a trustee of St Andrew’s School for Girls.

He died in Centurion six weeks after being admitted to hospital with the coronavirus.

Clarence Mini is survived by his wife Nany and children Yolisa, Nandi, Yandi and Nomhle. His son Vuyi died two years ago.

Source: SABC / Times Live

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