‘Mastermind’ behind Tshwane’s fight against Covid-19 mourned by Gauteng health dept

Professor Anton Stoltz, head of the Division of Infectious Diseases in Internal Medicine at the University of Pretoria. Picture: YouTube

The Gauteng Department of Health has expressed sadness following the death of Professor Anton Stoltz, a top infectious diseases expert who had dedicated his final days to the fight against Covid-19.

Stoltz, 59, died on Wednesday evening from complications arising from surgery, the University of Pretoria confirmed on Thursday.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit South Africa’s shores, and despite facing personal setbacks in his own health, Stoltz covered the length and the breadth of Gauteng, selflessly sharing his expertise and resources to fight the novel coronavirus, especially in the Ekurhuleni and Tshwane District Health Services, the department said in a statement on Friday.

“He is the mastermind behind the preparedness of the Tshwane District Health Services in combating this deadly virus.

“He was the Steve Biko Academic Hospital management’s right hand in the fight of the Covid-19 battle and was given a broader mandate by CEO to lead and direct everyone including her in the management of Covid-19.”

The department said all 19 patients admitted under Stoltz’s care had since recovered and been discharged from the hospital.

“Again, he proved his dedication to bettering the lives of others and he will forever be remembered for his clinical excellence, his dedication to research, his unfaltering leadership and his unwavering love for his children and wife,” Gauteng Health MEC Bandile Masuku said.

“We have lost an academic, leader, mentor and clinician who contributed immensely, not only in South Africa, but globally.

“I wish to send my heartfelt condolences to Prof Stoltz’s family, colleagues and the health fraternity, our thoughts and prayers are with you during this trying time.”

Stoltz was the head of the Infectious Diseases in Internal Medicine division at the university and also held positions at the Medical Research Council, as a principal medical researcher, and as head of the Infectious Diseases Unit Foundation for Professional Development.

University of Pretoria Vice-Chancellor Tawana Kupe said Stoltz’s research interests were in the field of infectious diseases, including: resistant tuberculosis using novel nano-particle medicine; resistant tuberculosis transmission/aerobiology and novel prevention of infection; HIV infections and the heart; HIV and CMV co-infections, malaria pheromones and malaria drug reformulations.

Kupe said Stoltz’s death was a loss to the health sciences fraternity, both nationally and globally.

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