Outstanding individuals and institutions were recognized for their extraordinary
contributions in the field of health and development at the Fifty-second World Health
Assembly. The following awards were presented in a ceremony on 20 May 1999:
Darling Foundation Prize
The 1999 Darling Foundation Prize was awarded to Dr. Agostinho Cruz Marques of Brazil
and Dr. Vinod Prakash Sharma of India.
Dr. Agostinho Cruz Marques was awarded the prize for his significant efforts in
combating malaria in Brazil over the last 35 years, principally in its poorest and most
needy regions. His dedication and technical skill received recognition in 1977 when he was
promoted to the position of Director-General of the Department of Endemic Disease
Eradication and Control of SUCAM (Brazil's Public Health Supervisory Office). With
responsibility for nationwide coordination of all malaria control activities, Dr. Marques
was instrumental in significantly bringing down the incidence of malaria.
Dr. Vinod Prakash Sharma's contributions have been of immense value in enhancing the
understanding of malaria dynamics, the organization of situation-specific control
operations, and the development of an integrated and ecologically sound approach to
malaria control. The strategy of the bio-environmental control of malaria, developed by
Dr. Sharma, is emerging as a major landmark in the management of malaria in India. His
work contributed substantially to the successful implementation of malaria control in
Léon Bernard Foundation Prize
Mrs. Debbie Emma Choongo of Zambia was awarded the Léon Bernard Foundation Prize for
1999. Thanks to her personal commitment, creativity and communications skills, Mrs.
Choongo has been instrumental in improving the health status in the area through increased
immunization coverage, which has been raised from 11% to 80%. She has also helped to set
up a number of projects such as community-based growth monitoring programs, improved water
supply and condom distribution. Mrs. Choongo has been successful in promoting functional
literacy classes and establishing a formal school with a trained teacher. The project has
been so successful that this community is now regarded as a model for good community
Jacques Parisot Foundation Fellowship
Mr. Boinikum Benson Konlaan of Ghana was the recipient of the 1999 Jacques Parisot
Foundation Fellowship proposed this year by the European Region. Mr. Konlaan currently
holds a position of research assistant at the Umeä University, Sweden. He is pursuing
doctoral studies based on an innovative project involving cultural stimulation and health.
The Fellowship topic for research is "Closing the gap in health status between rich
Ihsan Dogramaci Family Health Foundation Prize
Among other prizes awarded today was the Ihsan Dogramaci Family Health Foundation
Prize. The recipient of the prize was Professor Münevver Bertan of Turkey. Professor
Bertan has devoted her whole career to the promotion of family health in Turkey. Professor
Bertan has played a pivotal role in organizing national immunization campaigns and in the
promotion and standardization of training in family planning in medical schools throughout
Turkey. She has published extensively. Professor Bertan is a member of various prestigious
national and international associations.
Sasakawa Health Prize
The recipients of the 1999 Sasakawa Health Prize were Dr Julian Guillermo Ortiz
Guier from Costa Rica and the Institute of Urban Primary Health Care in South Africa.
The contribution of Dr Ortiz to primary health care in Costa Rica over a period of more
than 30 years has been exemplary. The support given to his initiative "Hospitals
without walls" in 1978 by the highest political level in his country attests to his
innovative accomplishments. His achievements at country level have been complemented by
his contributions to fostering the primary health care movement worldwide.
The Institute of Urban Primary Health Care was established in South Africa in 1990 on a
community basis with the purpose of carrying out primary health care research and training
activities. The Institute was singled out because of its central role in capacity building
at primary health care level in South Africa. It was cited for its' innovative approach in
increasing rehabilitation coverage, in promoting healthy lifestyles and supportive
environments and in speeding up the training of primary health care nurses.
Francesco Pocchiari Fellowship
The Francesco Pocchiari Fellowship was granted to Dr (Mrs) Raimonda Lilo Totoni
from Albania. Dr Totoni graduated from the Faculty of Natural Science in the State
University of Tirana and pursued postgraduate studies in analytical chemistry. Dr Totoni's
work during the fellowship period shall focus on the role of heavy metals in the
environment as important risk factors in Albania.
United Arab Emirates Health Foundation Prize
The last but not least prize awarded today, during the 52nd World Health Assembly, was the United Arab Emirates Health Foundation
Prize. It was awarded jointly to Professor Ismail A. Sallam of Egypt and to the Center for
Education about Drugs and Treatment of Drug-addicted Persons (KENTHEA), of Cyprus.
Professor Sallam was cited for his contributions in the field of cardiac surgery,
including several discoveries, which are recognized worldwide. For a long time he has been
a prominent figure in international cooperation and his contribution to humanitarian
assistance programs is equally recognized in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean and
The Center for Education about Drugs and Treatment of Drug-addicted Persons (KENTHEA)
located in Cyprus, is a non-governmental organization. It was recognized for its
outstanding work in coordinating the fight against drugs.
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