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Feature Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize

Tightening the net around malaria

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 19 August 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a1267
  1. Geoff Watts, freelance journalist, London
  1. geoff{at}

    Brian Greenwood has spent 30 years working in sub-Saharan Africa coming up with ways to control malaria among other things. Geoff Watts talks to the man who is one of the joint winners of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize

    In so far as attempts to thwart malaria have made progress in recent years, one man in particular is entitled to a share of the credit. He’s Brian Greenwood of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine—and the recent decision to make him one of the joint winners of the newly created Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize was a well deserved public acknowledgment of his personal contribution. The citation speaks of his bold and innovative work on the disease. At a time when malaria was spreading beyond restraint, it says, he contributed to the design and creation of strategies to control it.

    The Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize

    The Hideyo Noguchi Prize, funded by the Japanese government, comprises two separate awards: one for medical research in Africa; the other for medical services to the continent. Dr Hideyo Noguchi, who died in 1929, was a Japanese bacteriologist who joined the then Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York where he worked on snake venoms, smallpox, and yellow fever vaccines, the diagnosis of trachoma, and on Treponema pallidum. He also travelled extensively in Central and South America and, in 1928, went to Africa. He died of yellow fever while working in Accra.

    The prize will be awarded every five years. The 2008 medical services award has gone to Miriam Were, a Kenyan doctor and chair of her country’s National AIDS Control Council. She won it for her efforts at bringing basic medical services and health rights to women and children in rural East Africa.

    Public health in Africa

    Even for Professor Greenwood—a man who has spent 30 years working in sub-Saharan …

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