This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic.
After earning a Ph.D. at the University of Natal in Durban, South Africa, in 1994 while raising two young children, Gita Ramjee was exhausted.
Her thesis had been on kidney diseases in children — she had worked in a pediatrics ward at a local hospital — but she took a job on a small research project in a different field, since it promised a less frantic pace. It was a life-changing choice.
The research involved whether a vaginal microbicide was useful against AIDS, which was rampant in South Africa. The research put her in contact with sex workers, who told chilling stories of economic hardship,…