UCT honors famous champion of women’s health in South Africa


Former Head of the University of Cape Town (UCT) Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of the University’s Gynecological Cancer Research Center (GCRC), Lynette Denny, recently received a special event from thanksgiving to honor and celebrate her decades of service to women in low- and middle-income countries.

Origin: Supplied. Professor Lynette Denny.

A steadfast, kind, selfless and fearless leader, and a champion of women’s health in the country and on the continent, is how her family, friends and colleagues have described a renowned researcher on cervical cancer from the uterus. The event was organized by the Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at UCT.

During her illustrious career, which spans nearly four decades with the fabric of UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital, she has made leaps and bounds in the fight against cervical cancer from uterus. Her unwavering spirit has led to groundbreaking research that has improved and saved the lives of thousands of women.

In recognition of her work, she has also received a list of impressive awards, including the Order of the Baobab (Silver) from President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2021, recognizing her work as a leading cervical cancer researcher from the uterus and its association with human papillomavirus. (HPV).

Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, Vice-Chancellor (VC) of UCT, said: “Your community-based research is inspiring, especially in the way you involve people in your work, and your focus on delivering innovative methods, accessible, safe and effective in preventing cervical cancer. . You bring your level of excellence not only to your research and clinical work, but also to the environment where you and your team treat patients.

Friend and former UCT VC Dr Mamphela Ramphele said she knows Denny not as a teacher, or as a doctor, or as all the beautiful things that she is, but as a human being, who continues to teach her and everyone she meets what it means to be human. “To be human is to be connected to others, and in time, dependent on others, and to be part of the web of life. That is what makes Lyn so different from the rest of us,” a- she declared.

FHS Dean, Associate Professor Lionel Green-Thompson, said Denny’s story is the story of how women stand alongside other women, often in order to build a changed society for us. “I suspect that when you stand up for women’s rights and women’s rights on the fringes, you speak with love, and I wanted to share with the faculty my deep gratitude to Lyn,” he said.

At the event, Denny’s friends, colleagues and loved ones took to the podium to share some personal thoughts and anecdotes. Professor Mushi Matjila, Head of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, said: “It is fitting that the faculty celebrate Professor Lyn Denny – the icon; the icon who led the department with integrity, kindness, compassion and exceptional vision. His leadership can only be described as that of servitude.

“Lyn is a respected, grounded and often consulted global expert on women’s health, and she is a fearless and vocal advocate for women, especially women from poor and marginalized backgrounds. She has always been an eloquent advocate and vigorous against all forms of injustice, especially racial injustice and discrimination. And it is fitting that we celebrate Professor Denny’s achievements in the context of Women’s Month.”

Professor Landon Myer, former head of the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine, said: ‘I know Lyn as someone of a very high standard, as a teacher, scientist and colleague; someone who expects excellence from herself and everyone around her. I know Lyn as a person of tremendous compassion and humanity. We have become stronger because of your bravery, telling the truth and speaking honestly.

Origin: Supplied.  Debbie Gebhardt, CEO of CheckKnowPrevent.

Dr. Nomonde Mbatani, colleague, mentee and friend, said she had a wonderful time with Denny, who introduced her to different forms of religion and spirituality. She said that as a unit, they continue to uphold her teachings of ensuring the best care for their patients and respecting everyone around them.

Denny said she learned that research is a necessity, not a luxury, especially in low- and middle-income countries where resources are limited. She said the essence of research is relationships, connections, clarity, insight, empathy and ultimately a passion to improve the lives of patients through high quality evidence-based interventions. .

As researchers continue their work in the field, Denny said it’s important they understand the consequences of inequality, poverty, neglect, loss of dignity, alienation and marginalization, and how it all affects women’s lives. Therefore, she said, health care must be designed for the people, by the people.

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