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AfDB’s Adesina and three others win 2020 Distinguished Fellowship Award

The Distinguished Fellowship Award is the highest fellowship rank in the “Roll of Fellows” of the Academy of Public Health

The Academy of Public Health, the flagship body of the West African Institute of Public Health (WAIPH), has named the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) president, Akinwumi Adesina, and three other eminent individuals as winners of the Academy’s 2020 Distinguished Fellowship Award.

Adesina, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Leith Greenslade of JustActions and Winnie Byanyima of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/Aids were nominated by young public health professionals across Africa for their track record of leadership in working to ensure equity, better health and well-being for all.

The four have been recognised for their style of transformative leadership, which inspires emerging young leaders in public health to strive to make a difference in their work, the Academy said in a statement.

“Dr Akinwumi Adesina of the African Development Bank was particularly recognised for his action leadership in quickly moving the AfDB to provide the financial bulwark to the African Union as well as some of its member states to help curb Africa’s COVID-19 pandemic.

“He was also noted for engendering thought leadership through the AfDB to shape actions in the COVID and post-COVID era for Africa’s economies and health systems.”

No one left behind

The Distinguished Fellowship Award is the highest fellowship rank in the Academy’s “Roll of Fellows”. Award-winners are honoured for their exceptional leadership and service to humanity in making a difference in the lives of people and for inspiring young leaders also to excel in public health work.

Ghebreyesus won for leading the WHO to provide an equity-focused COVID-19 response that leaves no one behind, including his approaches towards eliminating “vaccine nationalism” as an unintentional consequence of the pandemic.

Greenslade was recognised for leading global awareness of childhood pneumonia, leveraging on public-private and philanthropic partnerships. Byanyima was chosen for her “unwavering” work to ensure that HIV/Aids key populations affected by COVID-19 are not forgotten.

Virtual investiture

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a ceremony to honour the recipients will be held in 2021, the Academy said, adding that the recipients were being notified of their recognition and date for a virtual investiture.

“I am greatly honoured to be selected to receive the Distinguished Fellowship of the West African Academy of Public Health together with Dr Tedros, Winnie Byanyima and Leith Greenslade! Africa and the rest of the world will overcome this pandemic against all odds”, Adesina wrote.

The West African Institute of Public Health is the leading regional, non-state health development organisation working in creating an enabling environment, professional training and education, research standards, consulting and advisory services.

The institute is a membership-based body that focuses on building a strong network of highly skilled and competent public health practitioners. It is also the keeper of the regional charter on public health.

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