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    Our tribute to Sylvia Meek: inspiration, powerhouse and dear friend

    Sylvia Meek , Malaria Consortium's Global Technical Director and member of COMDIS-HSD's advisory group and executive committee for many years.

    Sylvia Meek , Malaria Consortium’s Global Technical Director and member of COMDIS-HSD’s advisory group and executive committee for many years.

    We were very saddened at COMDIS-HSD to hear about the death of our dear friend and colleague Sylvia Meek, Malaria Consortium’s Global Technical Director. She had an enormous presence within our consortium and her loss has been felt greatly among us. For over 10 years, Sylvia mentored and advised us with a clarity and insight that we all admired.

    Prof Xiaolin Wei, the director of our research in China said, “I am so sorry to hear about Sylvia’s death. Sylvia has been one of the best friends, leaders and mentors for us at COMDIS. It is such a big loss to us both emotionally and professionally.”

    Her guiding hand was a sentiment echoed by Dr Amir Khan, director of our partner organisation in Pakistan: “We will always remember Sylvia as a source of inspiration and guidance for the public health work that we have done during the last decade.”

    Sylvia played an important role in our Consortium Advisory Group and Executive Committee. Prof Tony Harries, our Advisory Group Chair, said: “It was always a great pleasure to have Sylvia at the annual CAG meetings – she was always very informative about her subject areas, gave very sensible advice on strategy and direction and was at the same time very nice and always friendly. We will miss her.”

    Even in the last 18 months, when she wasn’t able to travel to our annual meetings, her wisdom and sharp insight cut through our discussions to remind us that we had to focus, to be inclusive, to work together; all this over Skype or speakerphone. Her presence was palpable no matter the distance.

    Prof John Walley, Co-Director of COMDIS-HSD worked with her for over a decade. “Sylvia was a powerhouse behind the control of malaria. My favourite memory was, at our annual partner meeting near Athens, we visited a temple and sat on a beach, and tried not to talk about work. She was a lovely warm person, so much fun to be with, and a dear friend.”

    Personally, I feel very privileged to have known and worked with Sylvia, she was an inspiration. It doesn’t seem right that someone with such an exceptional contribution to make should be taken from us. She was so dedicated and COMDIS-HSD has been lucky to benefit from her expertise. I’ll miss her guidance and ability to keep us on the straight and narrow – she always had a gentle way of challenging issues and presenting a different perspective. She leaves a huge gap in so many ways, which I feel sure cannot be filled. The scholarship set up in Sylvia’s honour by Malaria Consortium is a very fitting tribute to a woman with such vision and passion. We’ve lost a unique and special person and she will be truly missed. We offer our sincere condolences to her family, friends and colleagues.

    Anthonia James, Consortium Manager, COMDIS-HSD.
    On behalf of COMDIS-HSD partners and friends.

    To donate to the Sylvia Meek Scholarship for Entomology, please visit this site set up by Malaria Consortium: https://www.justgiving.com/Malaria-Consortium. If you wish to leave a message of condolence for Sylvia, please send these to messagesforsylvia@gmail.com. These will be seen by Sylvia’s family and Malaria Consortium.