Al-Sumait Prize 2015 laureate
Dr. Kevin Marsh
Dr. Marsh has spent his adult life living and working in Africa where he has made a major impact on Malaria and infectious disease among children. His work has been definitive and ground breaking which have had an impact on the health of millions of children in Africa. It has led to the evidence base for interventions leading to the decline in malaria across Africa, which is estimated to have led to the avoidance of 6 million childhood deaths over the last 15 years. He published over 450 medical journal articles with African colleagues in peer-reviewed journals. Over these decades he has built training and research in Africa in Kilifi, Kenya at the Kenya Medical Research Institute/Wellcome Trust Research Programme. This has been done in collaboration with University of Oxford and the US Center for Disease Control (CDC). Through grants received from the UK and other international funders he has trained numerous scientists including many who assumed leadership positions in Africa and globally. The majority of Dr. Marsh’s work during the past ten years has focused on better control and eventually eradication of malaria. He has gained the trust and respect of his African colleagues leading the African Academy of Sciences to promote the health sciences among African scientists. His leadership in the development of AESA (Accelerating Excellence of Science in Africa), a new pan African platform for supporting excellence in science, is having a continent wide effect in building the scientific and technological base on which Africa’s development depends. As a member on many international advisory bodies on tropical disease control, including those in malaria of the World Health Organization, he has provided regional and global leadership.
Al-Sumait Prize 2016 laureate
The Sweet Potato Team of the International Potato Center (CIP) in Peru
CIP, a member of the CGIAR, has expanded its work, to advance the contribution of sweet potato to African farmers and households to address Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) is one of the most pernicious forms of undernourishment in the developing world. It limits growth, weakens immunity, affects sight and increases mortality. Afflicting over 140 million preschool children in 118 countries and more than seven million pregnant women, it is the leading cause of child blindness in developing countries.
The Team mobilized funds from interested donors and has been working to bring the nutritional benefits of orange fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) to an estimated nearly 2 million households in countries across Sub-Saharan Africa. OFSP, coupled with nutritional education, provides vitamin A to vulnerable populations. The Team fast tracked breeding of OFSP varieties in Africa, resulting in release of over 50 nutritious varieties along with increased technical capacity of national research staff in several countries and developing varieties with increased productivity and resistance to sweet potato virus disease. The Team led the design of an “Integrated Agriculture-Nutrition Marketing” approach to deliver OFSP planting material to vulnerable populations, combined with nutrition education and counseling, and demand creation strategies in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda with substantial impact at the farm and household levels. All four members of The Evaluation Team rated CIP submission on orange fleshed sweet potato as extremely qualified.
The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria
IITA is a leading African crop center, also a member of the CGIAR and focuses on research and development of the key African food crops: banana and plantain, cassava, cowpea, maize, soybean, and yam. Impact of this important work is well documented on improving yields of major staple food crops, such as cassava, banana and plantain, and maize, across the Sub-Saharan African region with pest and disease resistance, and tolerance for abiotic stresses such as drought, heat, poor soils, and climate change. IITA developed and deployed safe and more nutritious food crops such as legumes, cereals (vitamin A maize, with the first released orange maize varieties from IITA, and tubers (cassava) through biofortification, use of efficient and affordable biocontrol products against aflatoxins, and made these available to the smallholder farm families in the region to balance calories, diversify diets, and safeguard health and nutrition.