During a moving ceremony at the Seventy-sixth World Health Assembly in Geneva, awards were presented to individuals and institutions from around the world for their outstanding contributions to public health.
“The 2023 Public Health Awards and Prizes celebrate people who have made significant contributions to global health and whose work has extended far beyond the normal call of duty,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “At a time when the world is facing many challenges, each is an inspiration and a reminder of the progress that can be made to improve health and well-being for all.”
A call for nominations of candidates for each award is sent out each year after the close of the World Health Assembly. Nominations can be made by national health administrations of WHO Member States and any former award recipient. On his 152ndn.d The Executive Board, at its meeting in January 2023, determined 2023 award winners, based on the proposals of special selection committees for each award.
The seven laureates were selected to celebrate their unique role and contribution to public health in their countries and globally. They come from four WHO regions – for the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific. Five winners are individuals, and three of them are women. In addition, the two institutions that received the 2023 award are led by women.
Award winners 2023
Sasakawa Health Award
Laureates for 2023: Nick Simons Institute from Nepal and Professor Vichai Tienthavorn from Thailand
The Nick Simons Institute is a non-governmental organization whose goal is to improve health care in rural areas of Nepal. Working closely with Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population, the Institute has trained 7,000 medical professionals (such as midwives and anesthetist assistants) in rural areas, who now provide much-needed services to local communities in the absence of sufficient general practitioners. practitioners and specialists. The Institute delivered basic equipment and provided additional health personnel to alleviate the shortage of medical professionals in 44 hospitals, and supported the development of an action plan for better quality services in more than 100 rural hospitals. The Institute also conducts research and advocacy activities to shape perceptions and influence policies affecting rural health workers in Nepal.
Professor Vichai Tienthavorn is the president of the Praboromarajchanok Institute at the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand. One of the national-level initiatives he led was an innovative health promotion policy to help address thalassemia, and his work resulted in the adoption of an effective national policy for the prevention and control of thalassemia. He also designed an effective communication tool and screening method to help citizens adjust their behavior to prevent and control diabetes and hypertension. As a result of this work, a national policy was adopted with a significant positive effect on the burden of disease in the country. Professor Tienthavorn has also played a key role in addressing the challenges of the uneven distribution of the health workforce, particularly in the border and rural areas of Thailand. He led the establishment of partnerships with rural schools to recruit high school students, train them and help them return to the local site after completing an accelerated medical curriculum.
United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Award
2023 Award Winner: Dr. Maria Asuncion Silvestre from the Philippines
In addition to being a renowned clinician and researcher, Dr. Maria Wild Assumption is a passionate advocate of exclusive breastfeeding and the founder Mother’s health (Maternal and Child Health) – Philippine NGO. dr. Silvestre used her experience as a community practitioner to conduct research and design a protocol to improve maternal and newborn health. The pioneering protocol she developed describes a simple set of actions to be taken by healthcare professionals who accompany a mother during labor and her newborn after birth. This protocol, which is applicable in all resource settings, helps bridge the gap in health equity in maternal and child care. In partnership with the national government of the Philippines, as well as with 17 countries in the World Health Organization’s Western Pacific region, it played a key role in increasing First Hug campaign for Early Essential Newborn Care – a set of simple and cost-effective interventions recommended by the WHO.
His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah Award for Research in Elderly Health Care and Health Promotion
Award winners for 2023: National Center for the Control and Prevention of Chronic and Non-Communicable Diseases from China; and Dr. Abla Mehio Sibai from Lebanon
National Center for Chronic and Noncommunicable Disease Control and Prevention, part of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC), since 2013, it has hosted a department that focuses on the health of the elderly. It carries out a wide range of programs and activities that advance the health promotion of older adults, ranging from better understanding of the causes of morbidity and mortality through national noncommunicable disease surveillance, surveys, death registries and research, to tailored programs to promote health literacy and evidence-based policies. Initiatives include a dedicated tool for the elderly, capacity building of 2,000 primary care workers, a health advocacy week dedicated to the elderly and an innovative project to improve the mental and cognitive health of more than half a million elderly people in urban and rural areas.
Dr. Abla Mehio Sibai is a professor of epidemiology and dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. She has made an outstanding contribution to the health of older people in Lebanon and the region, developing a holistic approach to promoting healthy aging. She led an innovative initiative to enroll nearly 600 older people each year in the American University of Beirut’s University for the Elderly, while training public health professionals. She co-led the landmark WHO Global Burden of Disease Study in Lebanon (2000) and conducted the first national survey on noncommunicable diseases and risk factors, informing advocacy, policy-making and program planning for health promotion. Building on her many achievements, Dr. Sibai developed the “National Strategy for the Elderly” in Lebanon (2020-2030). dr. Sibai also created the Arab Network on Aging and the Center for Aging Studies to forge links between research and policy at the national, regional and international levels.
Dr LEE Jong-wook Memorial Award for Public Health
2023 Award Winner: Dr. Jorge Francisco Meneses from Guatemala
Promoting community involvement in hospital care for over 20 years, Dr. Jorge Francisco Meneses establish community committees with a focus on the safety and satisfaction of patients, their families and the community. Given the positive impact of his work on improving the quality of patient care, the model of patient-centered ethical care he devised was expanded to a national level. Today, as the State Superintendent of Hospitals in Guatemala, he designed a program to improve the quality of services for hospital patients and their families. dr. Meneses recently coordinated an innovative pilot project in Guatemala’s Southern Health Region to build the nation’s first integrated network of health services, with a priority focus on underserved communities. His work led to the adoption of a national strategy of integrated health service networks, the first in Central America.
Nelson Mandela Health Promotion Award
2023 Award Winner: Dr. Mariam Athbi Al Jalahma from Bahrain
In addition to being the Chief Executive Officer of the National Health Regulatory Authority of Bahrain, Dr. Mariam Athbi Al Jalahma she held various management positions in government and academic institutions in her country. dr. Al Jalahma played an important role in the development of numerous national and regional strategies and plans in the field of primary health care, child and adolescent health, chronic diseases and the fight against smoking. In her current role, Dr. Al Jalahma has led major successful initiatives such as the National Accreditation System for Healthcare Institutions, the digital transformation of the National Health Regulatory Authority and several initiatives that have led to increased efficiency and excellence in the healthcare sector. She is also a prominent voice for health promotion across various channels in all GCC countries.
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