Professor Rashida Barakat, 1941–2013
It is with deep sadness that we learnt of the passing of Professor Rashida Barakat in Alexandria, Egypt, on 10 September 2013.
Professor Barakat will be remembered as a distinguished and internationally respected scholar, parasitologist, mentor and public health expert.
Her passion for parasitology led her to contribute actively to the implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and guidance of schistosomiasis control in Egypt. As a senior scientist, she assessed the safety and effectiveness of praziquantel in treating young schoolchildren and was among the principal investigators of the Schistosomiasis Research Project. She was a pioneer in the field of serodiagnosis of schistosomiasis and other parasitic diseases and wrote extensively on elucidating the epidemiology, treatment and control of schistosomiasis in Egypt.
Professor Barakat contributed greatly to the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and was a member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Schistosomiasis from 2001 until her death. She participated in many meetings convened by WHO at global, regional and country levels, including the WHO Expert Committee meeting on the Prevention and Control of Schistosomiasis and soil-transmitted helminthiases in 2001. Her latest publication is on the history of schistosomiasis control in Egypt, published in the September 2013 issue of the Journal of Advanced Research.
A role model for a long list of students in Egypt and the region, Professor Barakat offered her experience generously, motivating and supporting them, and offering much of her time, her care, knowledge, support and love. She participated in the supervision of 30 doctoral and 40 masters theses, published over 50 specialized papers, participated in more than 20 international conferences
Her thoughtful advice, mentorship and expertise will be greatly missed by the global schistosomiasis and public health communities.