Japan recently awarded the first Hideo Noguchi Prize to two recipients for their work on HIV/AIDS and malaria in Africa, AFP/Google.com reports. The prize is named after a well-known Japanese bacteriologist and provides 100 million yen, or about $1 million, to each recipient. Emperor Akihito presented the prize to the winners at the fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development in Yokohama, Japan.
Miriam Were, head of Kenya's National AIDS Control Council, received the award for her work, which contributed to a reduction in the number of new HIV/AIDS cases in Kenya between 2000 and 2006. Brian Greenwood -- a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and head of the Gates Malaria Partnership -- also received the award for his research on fighting malaria in Western Africa. Greenwood conducted the first clinical tests of insecticide-treated nets that showed how to decrease malaria deaths among children, according to AFP/Google.com.
Were said that the prize "communicates positive perceptions about Africa." She added, "The nature of the focus of the existing prizes in medicine more or less rule out those working in Africa from getting these awards" (AFP/Google.com, 5/29). Greenwood said that although he did not want to be "critical of [his] host," he would like "to see Japan come back again" as an international leader because there has been a "noticeable difference in the international community in the last few years." He said that Africa needs money and technical support but that African governments should be the ones to articulate their needs. "African countries should be saying what they need rather than rich countries coming and saying we are going to give you a new hospital and we are going to do that," according to Greenwood (Kyodo News, 5/29).
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