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.

Al-Sumait Prize 2017 laureate

Al-Sumait Prize 2017 laureates in the field of Education

Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Nairobi, Kenya: FAWE is a pan-African non-governmental network active in 33 countries to promote girls’ and women’s education in sub-Saharan Africa. FAWE is a unique form of collaboration among African elites, national authorities, local communities and international organizations. It works with a wide range of organizations, governmental and nongovernmental, to achieve equity and equality in education through targeted programs.

It has contributed significantly to the major change in attitudes and practice towards girls’ education in Africa this century, influencing governments to reform policies that hinder girls’ access.

FAWE achievements include establishing specific partnerships through memoranda of understanding with 14 ministries; achieving the mainstreaming of gender-responsive practices in national education policies in 17 countries; empowering youth, particularly girls, to identify and address gender concerns; developing the Gender-Responsive School or Centre of Excellence model in 10 countries; initiated the Gender-Responsive Pedagogy teacher training model in 12 countries; and helped demystify science, mathematics and technology for girls improving their participation and performance in 14 countries.

Al-Sumait Prize 2018 laureate

Professor Sheila K. West

Vice Chair for Research Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Has been recognized for her dedicated research focused in Africa on ways to improve trichiasis surgery outcomes and eliminate blinding trachoma. Her work has contributed to the control of blindness for both children and adults.

She has been instrumental in the development of the World Health Organization SAFE strategy for Trachoma prevention and control, a sustainable strategy that is now widely used throughout the world and is preventing blindness among both children and adults. Professor West continues her work on neglected tropical diseases in the poorest communities with partners across the globe.

Professor Salim S. Abdool Karim

Director: CAPRISA

Professor of Global Health: Dept of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University

Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research): University of KwaZulu-Natal

Director: DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in HIV Prevention

Adjunct Professor of Medicine: Cornell University

Associate: Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Havard University

Has been recognised  for his contributions to science in HIV treatment and prevention over the past three decades, which have led to significant changes in health policy and practices worldwide. He has published more than 350 papers in world-class medical journals and his efforts in research on prevention and treatment of AIDS patients has been a major factor in the decline in HIV/AIDS and mortality rates in Africa and the world.

His findings on HIV-TB, a leading cause of death in Africa, are specifically mentioned in many country treatment policies and guidelines, and are being implemented worldwide. The impact is highly tangible (eg. HIV-TB deaths have halved in South Africa since 2012).

Rakai Health Sciences Program

Rakai Health Sciences Program (RHSP) has and is playing an important role in improving public health in the African continent by fighting against HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, and for discovering -three decades ago- the first clinical symptoms of what was then a new medical phenomenon called “slim disease” on the African continent.

The program has also succeeded in documenting the importance of male circumcision and its positive impact as an effective means of reducing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, while the publications of the program in prestigious medical journals have had a significant impact on health policies in Africa and the world.

RHSP employs 350 full-time Ugandan research and clinical staff that include epidemiologists, demographers, clinical and basic science researchers, behavioral, laboratory scientists, and research support staff.  Additional RHSP staff, about 370, provide HIV treatment and prevention services resulting from RHSP research.

Al-Sumait Prize 2019 laureate

The Africa Rice Center (Based in Cote d’ivoire)

Africa Rice has an important role in enhancing food security in Africa, including the production of new rice varieties vitamin A enriched-rice with high yielding and climate-resilient and leading of pan-African rice research organization committed to improving livelihoods in Africa through strong science and effective partnerships devoted to improving the rice economy in Africa and is part of a global research partnership for a food-secure future. Through their applied research and education programs, the Center is building the next generation of professionals in rice and food research in Africa

Pan Africa Bean Research Alliance (PABRA)

PABRA serves a dynamic network of scientists and practitioners specializing in improving the productivity, processing, and the value chain of beans throughout Africa. The Alliance works along the continuum of innovative research to effective adoption and sustainable management of small farmers enterprises. PABRA has increased the integration of the important legume component in farming systems, which is important to improve soil fertility, enhance nutritional quality, and serve as a resilient driver in dryland and drought-prone environments.

Al-Sumait Prize 2020 laureate

Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy – South Africa

Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy, which is based in South Africa, is awarded the Prize for its exemplary efforts in providing “an effective solution to major challenges surrounding linguistic factors in African Education, by providing mother-tongue literacy programs with a bridge to English for early childhood education. These are coupled with professional development courses for teachers in literacy skills, as well as training for journalists, writers, and artists, and the development of free learning materials as open education resources. The initiatives of the Molteno Institute for Language and Literacy help not only South Africa, but have also supported eight other African countries, namely: Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Uganda, and Zambia.

Ubongo Learning – Tanzania

Ubongo Learning, which is based in Tanzania, is awarded the Prize for its “innovative and transformative initiative for disadvantaged children. It has tremendous potential in reducing the gap created by education disparities, by utilizing a massive scale-up approach, while delivering attractive edutainment materials through radio, TV, and basic mobile phones to 17 million children across Africa. It also aims to reach 60 million learners by 2025; hence, demonstrating the potential size and breadth of its impact, sustainability, affordability, ease of adaptation and replicability. Furthermore, an evaluation of the project, thus far, has shown its strong influences on early childhood education (ages 3-6 years)”.

Al-Sumait Prize 2021 laureate

The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases

The African Centre of Excellence for Genomics of Infectious Diseases (ACEGID), which is based in Nigeria, is awarded the Prize for its leading development of the field of infectious disease genomics, through the high-quality translational research and capacity building in Africa. It has significantly transformed the understanding of pathogens evolution, transmission dynamics, and applications of genomics knowledge in outbreak response.

Dr John N. Nkengasong

Dr John N. Nkengasong, Director of the African Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) is awarded the Prize for his essential role in developing Africa’s response to disease outbreak and the chief scientist directing Africa’s response to Covid-19. He plays a key role in providing technical support to strengthen public health and disease control institutions in the African Union. He shaped the continent’s control over Covid-19 and initiated key programs that have impacted Africa’s Covid-19 response.