WHO Sasakawa Health Prize Award Ceremony

Geneva, Switzerland

I am very pleased to announce that the 35th WHO Sasakawa Health Prize Award will be awarded to Professor Judith Ndongo Embola Torimiro and Mr. Eusebio Quispe Rodriguez for their outstanding and notable advances in primary health care.

Health is now an essential factor in Sustainable Development Goals and the goals of other international development programs. But forty years ago, health and development were not considered interrelated. Therefore, the Alma Ata Declaration in 1978 was truly ground-breaking because, for the first time, health was linked to development. And in the declaration, the primary health care approach became the critical to achieve “Health for All.”

Through this approach, people in local communities are encouraged to become proactively involved in their health development. They learn how to improve their diet in daily life. They learn the importance of good hygiene. They have access to basic health care. And in the process, they learn how to take the initiative to improve their health. This leads to the prevention of diseases or early treatment. And it contributes to their well-being.

In the past forty years, the world situation has significantly changed and the primary health care approach has responded accordingly. The primary health care approach continues to be recognized as fundamental to achieving the goal of “Health for All.”

The Sasakawa Health Prize recognizes those who are applying this approach to promote health in their respective fields. I would like to honor the two recipients this year who are making significant contributions to “Health for All” through the primary health care approach.

Professor Torimiro, a specialist in infectious diseases, applies the primary health care approach through the training of health care workers in the areas of HIV/AIDS in Cameroon. She is also active at the grassroots level, increasing awareness of cancer and sexually transmitted diseases among women in the region.

Mr. Rodriguez applies the primary health care approach to raise awareness of nutrition among local people in disadvantaged areas in Peru. He and his team visit families in the affected areas and advise them how to improve their daily diet. This has resulted in a dramatic reduction in cases of anemia.

Health is a basic human right. The contribution of the two recipients this year reminds us that the primary health care approach enables everyone to claim and enjoy this right.

Professor Torimiro and Mr. Rodriguez. Congratulations!