- Professor Heather Zar has won the 2018 L’Oréal-Unesco Women in Science Laureate for Africa and the Arab states
- Professor Zar’s work focuses on key diseases which cause child deaths in Africa
- Her work on childhood pneumonia has identified new methods for diagnosis and prevention
Professor Heather Zar has won the 2018 L’Oréal-Unesco Women in Science Laureate for Africa and the Arab states for her role in advancing child healthcare in South Africa.
Zar’s work is focused on key diseases which cause child deaths in Africa, these include pneumonia, TB, asthma and HIV related illnesses.
Zar is the chairperson of the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and director of the Medical Research Council Unit on Child and Adolescent Health.
Briefly.co.za gathered that Zar’s work on childhood pneumonia has been particularly revolutionary and is what earned her the award.
“Our work is focused on some of the most crucial issues in child health particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, being childhood pneumonia, childhood TB and asthma. I think people forget how big the problem of childhood pneumonia is. Two children die each minute from pneumonia and we have a disproportionate burden in sub-Saharan Africa, which has 25% of the childhood population but 50% of the deaths. So we have a lot of work to do in terms of childhood pneumonia.”
Zar said her team has also made huge strides in the fight against TB throughout Africa.
She said she was honoured and humbled by the award and grateful for the amount of publicity and hopefully funding her work would receive.
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