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People

at the Centre It is not often that a South African is listed on the Times Magazine Top 100 list of the most influential people in the world. Professor Glenda E. Gray, CEO and President of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) has been named one such individual, hot on the heels of the former Public Protector of South Africa Thuli Madonsela. She discusses the health care sector and ponders over whether the world may eventually become an HIV/AIDS free place. Professor Gray has pioneered advances in preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV, which has saved thousands of lives. She is an alumna of Wits Medical School and established the Wits Perinatal HIV Research Unit at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in 1996. She is currently President and CEO of the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) and involved in HIV vaccine research.

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AFRICA’S MOST INFLUENTIAL WOMEN 2017/2018

You are a member of various health boards in the world. In your view, what are the most pressing issues in so far as global health issues are concerned? There is no one health issue more pressing than the other. The life of each person matters and is invaluable. This is the reason why the conversation about the investment into research and development, for us as decision makers, is so important. Responsive medical research is at the heart of my conversation. Science has the power to change the trajectory of our present day and articulate a better future for our children.

You were named as one of the Times top 100 most influential people in the world in 2017. What does this recognition mean to you both on a personal and professional level? It highlights the importance of science, and the recognition of science as a measure of influence. This is important for me as a scientist, to know we can be agents of change and influence.

What do you mean by “placing people at the centre of health research is the fuel for ensuring impact”? I think that many people look to fulfil a purpose in life. When that purpose is found it becomes imperative to rely on fuel that keeps you pressing on, when at times, the odds may be stacked against you, as is the case in HIV research. We have been wrestling with a formidable foe. HIV, like many other disease profiles, requires us to think innovatively and do medical science that will take affordable health care solutions to scale. There is impact when people’s lives are changed for the better. This is the fuel I refer to.

Profile for CEO Global

MIW Regional Digital Magazine 2017  

Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government – this annual publication showcases Africa’s most influential women across the co...

MIW Regional Digital Magazine 2017  

Africa’s Most Influential Women in Business and Government – this annual publication showcases Africa’s most influential women across the co...

Profile for ceoglobal
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