WHO Sasakawa Health Prize Award Ceremony

Geneva, Switzerland

Let me begin by congratulating Dr. Arslan Rinchin on receiving the 33rd Sasakawa Health Prize. I would also like to convey my deep appreciation to the selection committee.

Since 1984, the Sasakawa Health Prize has honored individuals and organizations for contributing universalization of primary health care.

Dr. Rinchin has been actively engaged in the area of epidemiology, especially viral hepatitis for more than forty years. At a time when the public health policy for hepatitis was inadequate, Dr. Rinchin called for increased vaccination against the disease. This success owes much to his work.

Dr. Rinchin also has another area of concern: eliminating the stigma that patients suffer. I have learned that Hepatitis B patients are often stigmatized due to misunderstanding regarding the infection route of the disease.

I myself have been fighting to eliminate leprosy for decades now. I am also fighting against the stigma suffered by those affected by leprosy even after being physically cured.

I would like to extend my heartfelt support to Dr. Rinchin and his noble aspiration of not only researching hepatitis B, but also working to eliminate the stigma.

It is my honor and pleasure to present Sasakawa Health Prize 2017 to Dr. Rinchin, and all who have supported his research activities.