Nigerian, African director win Bill Gates’ 2020 changemaker award

A Nigerian and an African director has award Bill Gates' goalkeeping awards
Ernest Sunday

Bill and Melinda Gates' Foundation has announced Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr John Nkengasong and gender and disabilities rights activist Hauwa Ojeifo among winners of its 2020 Changemaker Award.

The Changemaker Award is an award given annually to individuals who have inspired people around the world using personal experience or from a position of leadership.

The Goalkeeper award was given to Dr Nkengasong a prominent voice for Africa’s scientific community for his hard work in the COVID-19 pandemic making sure that the disease did not spread in Africa as highly expected.

Dr Nkengasong has leD to the securement of different late-stage vaccine clinical trials in Africa, bringing together global vaccine developers, funders, and local facilitators.

Bill Gates praised Dr Nkengasong for his hard work and commitment and also promised that the foundation would do its best to make sure the vaccine that will be used in fighting the COVID-19 disease are made available.

Gates said: “Dr Nkengasong and his team at Africa CDC are deeply deserving of this award. Their commitment to securing the latest innovations from elsewhere in the world—as well as developing them themselves—will go a long way towards ensuring that the continent has the vaccines and medicines it needs to fight COVID-19.”

In the Goalkeeping award, the foundation also recognised Ojeifo a sexual and domestic abuse survivor and the founder of She Writes Woman.

The organisation is a women-led movement giving the issue of mental health a voice in Nigeria and promoting gender equality.

Beside Dr Nkengasong and Ojeifo were two other winners of the award including Bonita Sharma of Nepal and the MASH Project Foundation based in India.

Sharma is the co-founder and CEO of Social Changemakers and Innovators (SOCHAI), a youth-led nonprofit organisation working to improve the nutritional health of nursing mothers and young children and to empower marginalized women through business opportunities economically.

MASH Foundation was also recognised for furthering global cooperation and partnership.

“Each was recognised for playing a role in addressing the effects of COVID-19 in their communities, " Melinda Gates added.

“The 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award recognises an established individual demonstrating significant commitment to health and development, specifically in response to the pandemic.

“A social enterprise based in India, the MASH Project Foundation is building a global community of social change makers by bridging the gaps between governments, civil society, the corporate sector, youth, and media to drive social impact.

“While the pandemic and the inequalities it highlights will undoubtedly define this era, the world is seeing the very best of humanity emerge,” Melinda Gates added.

“We’re inspired by the energy and drive of this year’s award winners to create a safer, healthier, and more equitable world.”

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