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Princess of Asturias Awards

05/09/2018

Amref Health Africa, Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation

Amref Health Africa (Global) and Amref Salud África (Spain) have been bestowed with the 2018 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award. 

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Amref (African Medical and Research Foundation) Health Africa (Global) and Amref Salud África (Spain) have been bestowed with the 2018 Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, as made public today in Oviedo by the Jury responsible for conferring said Award.

The Jury for this Award –convened by the Prince of Asturias Foundation– was chaired by Gustavo Suárez Pertierra and composed of Maite Arango García-Urtiaga, Josep Borrell Fontelles, Mitchell Codding, Beatriz Domínguez-Gil González, Paula Farias Huanqui, Mbuyi Kabunda Badi, Emilio Lamo de Espinosa Michels de Champourcin, Jerónimo López Martínez, Daniel López Acuña, Jaime Montalvo Correa, Teresa Ribera Rodríguez, Rafael Sánchez Ortega, Luis Sánchez-Merlo Ruiz and Rosa María Calaf Solé (as acting secretary).

This candidature was put forward by Enrique V. Iglesias, 1982 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, and Sicily K. Kariuki, Cabinet Secretary of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Kenia. The more than 80 endorsements received for this nomination include those by Belisario Betancur, 1983 Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation, Pedro Alonso, Director of the World Malaria Program, and the Ministers for Health of Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda.

Amref Health Africa is a non-profit organization founded in Kenya in 1957 by three doctors, Michael Wood (United Kingdom), Tom Rees (USA) and Archibald McIndoe (New Zealand), with the aim of providing quality surgical care to the most remote and neglected populations in East Africa. For this purpose, they counted upon the service of 'flying doctors' with light aircraft-ambulances able to reach areas that are inaccessible due to the lack of infrastructure. Since then, the organization has worked for the union of African communities through public health services. In 1997, the year in which it celebrated its 40th anniversary, the NGO inaugurated Amref Salud África in Spain, a regional office to provide technical support to field teams and carry out promotion and fundraising campaigns. Since 2005, the organization has been carrying out online distance training via mobile devices and, in 2018, inaugurated its first university focused on the field of health.

Headquartered in Nairobi (Kenya) and with 19 other regional and national offices in Africa (Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, South Africa, Zambia, South Sudan, Malawi and Senegal), Europe (Spain, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Austria, Monaco and Sweden) and North America (United States and Canada), Amref develops its own programmes in some thirty African countries. In its more than sixty years of existence, the organization has provided healthcare to 110 million people, of whom eighty million are women and children, and has trained twelve million health workers.

Supported by a team of doctors, nurses, researchers, nutritionists and experts in sanitation and public health, almost all of African origin, the organization has six main global strategic priorities: maternal and child health; the training of professionals and capacity building; clinical and diagnostic services; the fight against neglected diseases, AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria; research and promotion actions; and water and sanitation. This strategic framework is also aligned with the 2015-2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Also worthy of note is its work in favour of the eradication of female genital mutilation, its awareness-raising programmes having reached more than five million people in Kenya and Tanzania alone, contributing to a reduction in the incidence of this practice from 45% to 14% in only a few years. Since 2011, Amref has managed to protect around 15,000 girls from this practice, replacing it with others known as alternative rites of passage, of a symbolic nature. No less relevant is the LEAP initiative: a platform for continuous online training for professionals via mobile devices providing information and data from clinical cases to study and discuss. This mobile app allows direct and immediate contact with online trainers and other professionals in the field thanks to its chat groups. The organization also has an international university specializing in degrees in health sciences and health education.

Amref's work has been rewarded with various recognitions such as the Conrad Hilton Humanitarian Award (1999), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Award for Global Health (2005) and the African NGO Leadership Award (2016), among others.

As stated in the Regulations, the Princess of Asturias Awards are aimed at rewarding “the scientific, technical, cultural, social and humanitarian work carried out at an international level by individuals, institutions or groups of individuals or institutions”. In keeping with these principles, the Princess of Asturias Award for International Cooperation shall be aimed at recognizing “individual or collective work, in cooperation with another or others, to develop and promote public health, universal education, the protection and defence of the environment, as well as the economic, cultural and social advancement of peoples.”

This year, a total of twenty-six candidatures, from seventeen different countries, were put forward for the award.

This is the third of eight Princess of Asturias Awards, which are being bestowed this year for the thirty-eighth time. The Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts went to American filmmaker Martin Scorsese and the Princess of Asturias Awards for Communication and Humanities went to Mexican journalist Alma Estela Guillermo Prieto. The rest of awards will be announced in the coming weeks in the following order: Sports, Literature, Social Sciences, Technical and Scientific Research and Concord.

The remaining awards will be announced in the coming weeks in the following order: Sports, Social Sciences, Literature, Technical and Scientific Research and Concord.

Each of the Princess of Asturias Awards comprises a Joan Miró sculpture –representing and symbolizing the Awards–, a cash prize of 50,000 euros, a diploma and an insignia. The awards will be presented in the autumn in Oviedo at a solemn ceremony chaired by TM The King and Queen of Spain.

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