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May 18, 2023

WHO Global Health Leaders Awards recipient named

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FA News Desk
WHO Awards

Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe-Tamfum of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Professor Peter Piot from Belgium have been awarded WHO Director-General’s Global Leaders Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Both recipients are distinguished scientists and public health leaders who were closely involved in the discovery of Ebola virus disease before advancing to leadership positions in global health.

The ceremony for the awards form part of the high-level opening session of the 76th World Health Assembly being held on Sunday 21 May 2023 in Geneva.

WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will present the lifetime achievement awards to recognize outstanding contributions to advancing global health during the high-level opening session of the 76th World Health Assembly.

Established in 2019, the Director-General’s Global Leaders Award honours for lifelong commitment to public health.

Professor Muyembe-Tamfum is being recognized for his innovation, leadership and ground-breaking contributions to the management and treatment of diseases such as Ebola virus disease.

Professor Muyembe-Tamfum is the Director General of the DRC’s National Institute of Biomedical Research in Kinshasa, full Professor of Microbiology at the University of Kinshasa Medical School and the inaugural president of the Congolese Academy of Science has played a critical role in improving health outcomes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the African region, and the global community.

He was part of the team that discovered the Zaïre ebola virus during the first recorded outbreak in 1976, in Equateur Province, Central DRC.

He later helped design one of the first effective treatments against the virus and the deployment of experimental Ebola virus disease vaccines and worked tirelessly to build the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s scientific capacity, establishing multiple research facilities in the country, and has played key roles with WHO in fighting infectious diseases.

Likewise, Professor Piot is being recognized for his extraordinary leadership in the response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and other significant global health challenges.

He has played a vital role in launching major global health initiatives such as UNAIDS, the Global Fund, and others that have improved health outcomes around the world. Under his leadership, UNAIDS became the chief advocate for worldwide action against AIDS, also spearheading UN reform by bringing together 10 different UN organizations.

Professor Piot also played a part in the earlier discovery of the Ebola virus, and the containment of the first known outbreak, participating in field epidemiological investigations.

He has chaired a number of high-level initiatives, served in numerous high-level advisory roles, including on COVID-19, and has received multiple awards.

Professor Piot is the Special Advisor to the EC President, a Professor of Global Health and former Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.