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Ghanaian doctor wins globally recognised award for his work on river blindness in Oti Region

Ghanaian doctor wins globally recognised award for his work on river blindness in Oti Region

A Senior Technical Advisor at the END Fund, based at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Professor Daniel Adjei Boakye, has been awarded by the Global Institute for Disease Elimination (GLIDE) after he devised a project to map out how river blindness is transmitted between villages in the Oti Region.

Prof. Adjei Boakye won a Falcon Award for Disease Elimination including four other winners whose recognitions was announced yesterday by the GLIDE during a Universal Health Coverage Day event at EXPO 2020 Dubai.

Prof. Boakye will carry out a series of targeted field studies in the Oti Region to refine the multi-village model for preventing river blindness and identify the best treatment strategies for the disease.

Results from the study will also help in redefining transmission zones for other neglected tropical diseases programmes, ensuring these zones are targeted with specific interventions to accelerate the elimination of diseases.

Prof. Boakye beat 220 applicants across 44 countries to become the first African winner of the Falcon Awards.

Commenting on his selection, Prof. Boakye, said: “I am delighted to have been selected as a winner of The Falcon Awards. Understanding issues around transmission zones and cross-border challenges is critical to the elimination of river blindness transmission in Africa

“This partnership with GLIDE will create the impetus needed to generate data for models which provide greater clarity in resolving the challenges around river blindness elimination.”

Launched in April this year by GLIDE, the Falcon Awards aim to discover and implement innovative approaches to disease elimination which focus on eliminating one or more of GLIDE’s four focus diseases: malaria, polio, lymphatic filariasis and river blindness.

The winners were selected by a jury of global health experts including Professor Maha Taysir Barakat, Board Chair of the RBM Partnership to End Malaria; Dr Sarthak Das, Chief Executive Officer of the Asia Pacific Leaders Malaria Alliance; Dr Tunji Funsho, Chair of Rotary’s National PolioPlus Committee; and Dr Katey Owen, Director of Neglected Tropical Diseases at The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Simon Bland, Chief Executive Officer of GLIDE, said: “Innovation is vital if we want to eliminate ancient diseases of poverty. The quality of applications we received from individuals and organisations based in disease-endemic countries, is testament to the will to consign these diseases to the history books. We just need to act on it

“We are immensely grateful to our jury, who took time out of their demanding day jobs to select five winners from our 10 talented finalists. Above all, we look forward to working with the winners over the coming year, bringing their innovative disease elimination strategies to life.”

About GLIDE:

GLIDE is a new global health institute, based in Abu Dhabi, focused on accelerating the elimination of four preventable diseases of poverty: currently malaria, polio, lymphatic filariasis, and river blindness, by 2030 and beyond.

Founded in 2019 as the result of a collaboration between His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, GLIDE identifies the latest scientific, cultural, and global health knowledge and puts it into action with its partners through programmes, funding, and skills development to support local health care systems and advance global thinking.

About the Falcon Awards for Disease Elimination:

Launched in April 2021 by GLIDE, the Falcon Awards for Disease Elimination aim to advance the elimination of one or more of GLIDE’s four focus diseases: malaria, polio, lymphatic filariasis, and river blindness.

The Awards invited submissions from organisations in disease-endemic countries whose proposals address cross-border, cross-disease, cross-programme, or cross-sector approaches to disease elimination.

Five winners are selected to receive a grant of up to USD200,000 to implement their proposals, along with technical and advocacy support from GLIDE.


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