NEW ORLEANS- Professor Alan Fenwick was awarded the fourth annual Kyelem Prize on October 27, 2018 at the annual meeting of the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD). The prize, set up in honor of the late Dr. Dominque Kyelem, recognizes extraordinary contributions to the field of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).
“Dominique’s attributes are just those embodied in the individuals chosen for the annual Kyelem prize – competence, effectiveness, collegiality, sincerity, determination and unquenchable optimism,” said Eric Ottesen, director of the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center, which serves as COR-NTD Secretariat.
Professor Fenwick’s achievements in the field of NTDs span the past 50 years. He initially studied chemistry at Liverpool University and then went on to pursue a Masters in parasitology and entomology and a PhD focused on schistosomiasis epidemiology and control at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He was first tasked with researching the use of copper sulfate to control the intermediate host snail populations, and this propelled him into a life’s work targeting schistosomiasis elimination.
Over the course of his career, his work took him to Tanzania, Sudan, Egypt, and many other countries, where he managed large-scale schistosomiasis control efforts and supported national ministries of health to maximize programmatic impact. In Egypt, Professor Fenwick was part of the initial safety and efficacy trials of the antiparasitic drug praziquantel— a major breakthrough in schistosomiasis treatment. In 2002, he founded the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative that has supported the scaling up of mass drug administration efforts across 16 endemic countries in Africa, resulting in a significant reduction in morbidity of schistosomiasis.
Professor Fenwick has held a number of leadership positions and managed projects that were funded by the UK Government, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID and a number of engaged private philanthropies. Since 2004, he has been Professor of Tropical Parasitology at Imperial College, London, bringing his extensive field and research expertise to the classroom setting. His contributions towards NTD control and elimination span both research and advocacy. As one of his nominators for the Kyelem Prize stated, “he has combined the best of science and public health implementation and has established himself as one of the true thought leaders and practitioners in the field of NTDs.”
Professor Fenwick received the award at the 2018 COR-NTD meeting, which was attended by more than 400 participants who gathered to drive efforts closer to the control and elimination of NTDs by 2020 by sharing insights, identifying programmatic gaps, and discussing strategies to address current NTD challenges effectively.
About the Kyelem prize: The Kyelem Prize is given annually in honor of Dr. Dominique Kyelem at the COR-NTD meeting. The inaugural award went to Dr. Julie Jacobson of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2015. In 2016, the Kyelem Prize was given posthumously to Dr. Vasanthapuram Kumaraswami of the Indian Council of Medical Research. The Prize was shared in 2017 by Dr. Mwele Malecela of the World Health Organization and Professor David Molyneux of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. After beginning his career as a district medical officer in Burkina Faso, Dr. Kyelem earned his PhD at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. He then became program manager for lymphatic filariasis in Burkina Faso, and later served as director of programs in the Lymphatic Filariasis Support Center (now the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center) at The Task Force for Global Health until his death in 2013. In addition to his professional legacy – which includes being among the first to pilot mass drug administration for lymphatic filariasis – he is remembered for his unyielding positivity.
About the Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases: The Coalition for Operational Research on Neglected Tropical Diseases (COR-NTD) is a forum for researchers, program implementers and their supporters with the shared goal of optimizing NTD control and elimination globally. Supported by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the U.K. Agency for International Development, the Neglected Tropical Diseases Support Center at the Task Force for Global Health serves as the Coalition Secretariat. The aim of COR-NTD is to promote new synergies within the operational research community for NTDs and align that research with the program needs and World Health Organization guidelines. Learn more at http://www.ntdsupport.org/cor-ntd.