Cameroon: WHO Honours Professor Judith Torimiro

She was recognized at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, for 27 years of work on the field, the classroom and the laboratory.

The World Health Organization has conferred its Sasakawa 2019 Health Prize on Cameroonianborn Professor Judith Ndongo Torimiro, Director of Laboratories at the Chantal Biya International Reference Centre for Research on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Management, (CIRCB), for her extensive contribution in operational research on HIV/AIDS and viral Hepatitis B and C. The Cameroonian Professor, together with her Peru counterpart, Eusebio Quispe Rodríguez received the prize that consists of a statuette and a sum of US$30 000 each in a special ceremony last Friday May 24, at the 72nd World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. This was in the presence of the President of the Assembly, the Director- General of the WHO and a representative of the Sasakawa Foundation.

Prof Torimiro is recognized for her contribution to increasing awareness of, and providing outreach services on sexually transmitted infections and cancers in women, especially in rural areas of Cameroon. Since her return home in the 1990s, Prof Torimiro has helped create four health research institutions in the country. As Chair of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Yaounde I, she is a key figure in building academic capacities in molecular biology while shaping Cameroon's next generation of scientists. She is proud to have participated in a multidisciplinary research group dealing with early infant diagnosis of HIV infection of children born to HIV-positive mothers and was instrumental to the creation of the national programme on this work, a key component of the National AIDS Treatment Programme. While thanking the government of Cameroon for nominating her for the award, she told the Geneva audience that the fund that amounts to FCFA 16,500,000 will be used to strengthen the health system of Cameroon, to integrate Hepatitis B Virus Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT)/Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) into the successful HIV PMTCT/EID Programme, and promote the vision of the First Lady of Cameroon, Mrs Chantal Biya, to provide better quality of life for mothers and their infants. The Sasakawa Health Prize is said to be awarded to a person or persons, an institution or institutions, or a nongovernmental organization or organizations having accomplished outstanding innovative work in health development .

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