Dr. Oviemu Otu Ovadje, a Nigerian, was among
outstanding individuals and institutions who were recognized for their contributions in
the field of health and development at the Fifty-third session of the World Health
Assembly (WHA) of the World Health Organization. The awards were presented at a special
ceremony in May.
Dr. Ovadje was one
of those who received the Sasakawa Health Prize awarded for exceptional achievements. The
award was for his invention of an Emergency Auto-Transfusion Set (EATSET), which is a very
simple blood-saving device, which efficiently replaces the gauze filtration technique used
in developing countries. The device is an excellent example of appropriate technology
relevant to the needs of developing countries.
clinical trials in 1999 confirmed its efficacy for patients with ruptured ectopic
pregnancies and life-threatening intraperitoneal bleeding. Dr. Ovadje said he would use
the prize money to increase the scope of current clinical trials and to conduct parallel
studies in hospitals in India, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Other winners of
the Sasakawa Health Prize were Dr. Yoav Horn of Israel for his work in the field of cancer
research and treatment and care of cancer patients in Israel and in the West Bank as well
as the Family Planning Association (PLAFAM) of Venezuela which has been working to promote
family planning and to improve sexual and reproductive health particularly among the poor
ceremony, the United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize was awarded jointly to Dr.
Roemwerdiniadi Soedoko of Indonesia and the Institute of Nursing in Myanmar. The Dr. A. T.
Shousha Foundation Prize was awarded to Dr. Seyed Alizera Marandi from the Islamic
Republic of Iran while the Jacques Parisot Foundation Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Laura
Papantoniou from Cyprus.
VISION 2020 LAUNCHED IN ENGLISH
English-speaking Africa, an estimated 3-4 million blind and 10-12 million visually
impaired people will benefit from VISION 2020: the Right to Sight
a worldwide initiative to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. More than 60% of
them suffer from cataracts.
coordinated nationally, regionally and internationally, will be made to restore eyesight
in these people while preventing many others from becoming blind, said WHO and a group of
international non-governmental development organizations (NGDOs) at the VISION 2020 sub-regional launch in Johannesburg in
To achieve these
objectives, the VISION 2020 group, in close
cooperation with African health authorities, will work to increase the number of
adequately trained national eye-care personnel; ease access to ophthalmologic services for
populations in low income brackets, particularly in rural areas; facilitate the transfer
of appropriate sight-saving technologies to African countries; as well as develop and
implement cost-effective national strategies for blindness prevention. In its initial
stage, the emphasis in VISION 2020 will be
placed on awareness-raising and resource mobilization.
DR. SAMBA CALLS FOR BETTER FUNDING
FOR HEALTH SYSTEMS
The WHO Regional
Director for Africa, Dr. Ebrahim Samba has reiterated the importance of adequate financing
for health systems and called on African Heads of State to redeem their pledge to allocate
at least 15 per cent of their national budgets to the health sector.
Speaking in Harare
at the end of a Regional consultative meeting on health system performance assessment, Dr.
Samba urged countries to strive to create conditions conducive to the strengthening of
their health systems by the judicious management of resources especially finances, and
also by ensuring that health sector workers were motivated.
systems are the vehicles through which health problems such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and
tuberculosis are resolved . . . it is therefore important that countries have strong
health systems as this would enable them to more effectively handle these and other
diseases, he added.