A pioneering doctor in the fight against the river blindness disease in sub-Saharan Africa has received a prestigious award in Thailand – the Prince Mahidol Award for outstanding contributions in public health. Doctor Uche Amazigo says she is upbeat about efforts to combat the disease, despite political instability that has set back outreach efforts.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says as many 18 million people, largely in Africa and Yemen, are infected by river blindness, a parasitic disease that has left 500,000 people visually impaired and a further 270,000 blinded.
River blindness is recognized as one of the neglected tropical disease contributing to poverty and under-development in Africa. The WHO has estimated $1.5 billion funding is needed to combat these diseases in Africa until 2017.
Amazigo was in Thailand to receive the prestigious Prince Mahidol Award for outstanding contributions in public health. Britain’s Sir Michael Rawlings, chairman of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, was also recognized for his work in medicine.
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