10.10.2016 - Natural Sciences Sector

UNESCO Prize recognizes research on affordable health care, diagnostics and neglected diseases

© UNESCO/Ignacio Marin UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences ceremony, 10 October 2016

Three researchers from Brazil, India and Senegal received the UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for Research in the Life Sciences today in recognition of their scientific research, which led to improving the quality of human life. Their work focuses on neglected diseases of poverty such as malaria, dengue or chikungunya but also on affordable tools to manage cardiovascular diseases and to control and manage viral diseases such as Ebola. The prize-giving ceremony was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, France.

UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General, Mr Getachew Engida, highlighted the importance of science to fully realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in his opening remarks.  “We need more scientists, and we need more innovative research in the life sciences, in all fields of fundamental science” he said, insisting that science is not just about finding answers, but rather about asking the right questions. In this sense, the prize is in line with UNESCO’s goals to encourage research, mobilize science knowledge and policy for sustainable development and foster capacity-building in science and innovation.

Speaking of the crucial importance of the engagement of scientific research in a world that is still affected by pandemics, Mr Angel Masie Mebuy, second Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, congratulated the three laureates for their important work. The three laureates are Professor Manoel Barral-Netto, Professor Balram Bhargava and Dr. Amadou Alpha Sall. They were selected by an international jury presided by Prof. Wagida Anwar, Director of the Ain Shams University Center for Molecular Biology, Biotechnology and Genomics (Egypt).

Professor Manoel Barral-Netto was recognized for his work on Leishmaniasis and Malaria, and for his contribution to the development of science and control tools in the area of transmissible diseases and the neglected diseases of poverty.

Professor Balram Bhargava, a cardiologist specializing in biomedical innovation, public health and medical education, was recognized for his contribution to the development of innovative, effective and affordable tools for the management of cardiovascular diseases that has had a huge social impact in resource-poor environments.

Dr. Amadou Alpha Sall was recognized for his cutting-edge contributions in developing and disseminating diagnostic and control tools for viral diseases like Ebola, Chikungunya, Dengue and other vector borne diseases with potential global impact.

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