WHO Coordinator honoured for his outstanding work on TB/HIV
28 October 2011 | Lille | WHO Stop TB Department Coordinator, Dr Haileyesus Getahun, has been awarded the prestigious 2011 Union Scientific Prize for his work on tuberculosis (TB) and HIV-associated TB. The 41 year old Ethiopian, who heads the Stop TB Department's TB/HIV and Community Engagement unit, was honoured at the opening ceremony of the 42nd Union World Conference at Lille in France.
Accepting the prize, Dr Getahun thanked current and former colleagues for their support and guidance and also paid tribute to patient and community groups who he said had been a source of inspiration since his arrival at WHO in 2003.
"This award recognizes the important work that has been done over the years to save the lives of people co-infected with TB and HIV. It also underlines the commitment and achievements of WHO, its partners and its member states, on reducing the burden of TB/HIV through effective collaboration. It is a great honour to have been nominated and awarded the Union Scientific Prize", said Dr Getahun.
The Director of the WHO Stop TB Department, Dr Mario Raviglione, said the award was deserved: "This is a major achievement and honour for my colleague, Dr Getahun, and for the Stop TB Department. This award reflects his solid leadership on TB/HIV and his ongoing successful collaboration with major partners and key stakeholders. On behalf of the department, I would like to offer my congratulations to Dr Getahun. "
The Union Scientific Prize is awarded annually and recognizes the contribution made by researchers at any stage of their career for work on tuberculosis or lung health.
Dr Getahun's main area of work at WHO has been focused on helping develop evidence-based TB/HIV policies to prevent, diagnose and treat TB among people living with HIV. He also coordinates the TB/HIV Working Group of the Stop TB Partnership and played a critical role in raising the profile of TB/HIV especially among HIV stakeholders and researchers.
He began his professional career as a medical officer in a rural north-western district of Ethiopia, working under extremely challenging conditions with no electricity and limited communication. After completing his training as a doctor in Ethiopia, he studied for a Masters and PhD in Public Health at the University of Ghent and Institute of Tropical Medicine in Belgium.