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Nigerian Professor Wins $100,000 Global Health Prize

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Nigerian Professor Wins $100,000 Global Health Prize

In a significant recognition of his tireless efforts to improve health outcomes over the past three decades, Professor Ibrahim Abubakar, a distinguished Nigerian expert in Infectious Disease Epidemiology, has been awarded the prestigious 2023 Roux Prize. The Roux Prize is conferred by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington’s School of Medicine, and this year, Professor Abubakar received a cash prize of $100,000 during an award ceremony held in London on October 12.

The Roux Prize, sponsored by IHME’s founding board member David Roux and his wife, Barbara, is designed to honor individuals worldwide who have made innovative and impactful use of the Global Burden of Disease data to enhance population health. Now in its tenth year, the Roux Prize continues to recognize those who leverage evidence-based health data to make substantial contributions to global well-being.

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Professor Abubakar’s career has been marked by remarkable achievements that have had a profound impact on global health. His dedication and expertise have not only influenced policy implementation but have also improved the lives of countless people. Chris Murray, the director of IHME, praised Professor Abubakar for exemplifying the essence of the Roux Prize, which values innovation, ambition, and collaboration.

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One of Professor Abubakar’s notable achievements was his pivotal role in The Lancet Nigeria Commission. This work led to Nigeria’s adoption of a new law mandating basic health insurance and the establishment of a vulnerable fund that extends coverage to 83 million underprivileged individuals. His comprehensive analysis of Nigeria’s health system, conducted in March 2022, identified critical gaps and provided recommendations for improvement based on Global Burden of Disease (GBD) data.

Driven by a deep-seated belief in the elimination of health inequalities, Professor Abubakar stated, “What drives me each day is the firm belief that the existence of health inequalities is not a given – it is within our reach to eliminate inequitable access to care if we work collectively to improve the lives and conditions of the most disadvantaged among us.”

Throughout his career, Professor Abubakar has been at the forefront of health initiatives for tuberculosis (TB) and COVID-19. As the head of TB in Public Health England in 2015, he developed a research program that enhanced screenings and chaired committees such as the WHO Strategic Advisory Group for TB, contributing to a two percent annual decline in new TB cases globally from 2015 to 2018.

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In 2020, he was appointed as the Scientific and Technical Adviser to the Nigeria Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, where he played a pivotal role in formulating national COVID-19 restrictions and response strategies. Professor Abubakar’s work extended to over 40 policy papers, which influenced national vaccination policies. He is currently leading an international study on COVID-19 variants, encompassing cohorts from Europe, South America, Africa, and Asia.

The Roux Prize is a testament to Professor Abubakar’s extraordinary contributions to global health, his unwavering commitment to change, and his relentless pursuit of a world where health disparities are eliminated. His innovative and collaborative approach has not only impacted Nigeria but also regions far beyond, making the world a healthier place for all.

Source: Premium Times

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