Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 14 December 2020 — The Academy of Public Health, the flagship body of the West African Institute of Public Health, has named African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina and three other eminent persons as winners of its 2020 Distinguished Fellowship Award.
Adesina, World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Tedros Ghebreyesus, 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 demonstrated leadership in working to ensure equity, better health and wellbeing for all.
The four have been recognized 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 at the weekend.
“Dr. Akinwumi Adesina of the African Development Bank was particularly recognized 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.”
The Distinguished Fellowship Award is the highest fellowship rank in the “Roll of Fellows “of the Academy, leading the Roll of Fellows for their exceptional leadership and service to humanity in making a difference in the lives of people and inspiring young leaders to also excel in their 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” in the wake of the pandemic, while Greenslade was recognized for leading a global awareness on childhood pneumonia, leveraging on public-private and philanthropic partnerships. Byanyima was chosen for her “unwavering” work to ensure that HIV/AIDS key populations impacted by COVID-19 are not forgotten.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a ceremony to honor 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 honored 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 said.
The West African Institute of Public Health is the leading regional non-state health development organization working in 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 of public health.