Beloved Paediatric Professor Celebrated at Memorial
The Memorial Service of Professor Meera Chhagan, Senior Lecturer and Paediatrician at UKZN, was held at the Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine campus.
Professor Richard Hift, Dean of Clinical Medicine in the College of Health Sciences, said: ‘I certainly knew her well enough to know that she was a fine individual who was a credit to her family and her colleagues. She was a gifted professional and scholar in the School of Clinical Medicine.’
Professor Miriam Adhikari, UKZN Emeritus Professor of Paediatrics, said: ‘She achieved a lot. She was a very determined individual whose priorities were her patients and the children.’
Adhikari spoke about Chhagan’s many achievements, including her links to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the University of Bergen, Norway, with which she worked and collaborated.
Chhagan’s sister, Chandra, shared her memories. ‘In the limited time she was given, she achieved so much and it was her work and various challenges that made her strive to work harder. Meera spent her life serving humanity and she valued honour, responsibility and accountability. Her legacy and inspiration will continue through the work she has done.’
Chhagan collaborated with interdisciplinary teams of researchers based at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York, Tufts University in Massachusetts, the University of West Indies in Jamaica, Oxford University, as well as the University of Bergen. The College of Medicine in Malawi and the University of the Western Cape (Department of Public Health) also paid tribute to her.
Chhagan was also involved in HIV research with her current and imminent projects addressing the metabolic and nutritional effects of antiretroviral therapy in children. As a Clinician, Chhagan managed a tertiary referral service for children with infectious disease and/or HIV and was involved in strengthening programmes for HIV prevention and treatment. The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health also acknowledged her immense commitment to strengthening the district health systems at provincial and national level.