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Prof Were aims to reduce child deaths

NAIROBI, June 2 – Latest statistics released by the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) at the beginning of this year indicate that 49 percent of child deaths occur in Africa.

According to the report, most of the deaths normally occur as a result of health related causes which are preventable.

The Hideyo Noguchi Africa Award prize winner Professor Miriam Were Monday pointed out that such deaths could be minimized if preventive measures were put in place.

Speaking after receiving her Award, Professor Were outlined some community based projects which she aimed to undertake with her winnings.

“We are contributing more to deaths than before so if we are to focus on reducing the deaths of children and mothers, we would need a system that would reduce the deaths of everybody,” she said.

Professor Were was announced winner of the coveted prize in March for her outstanding work in HIV control through efforts to bring basic medical services to women and children in East Africa.

She shares the prize with Brian Greenwood of UK who pioneered landmark research that has contributed to the understanding of immunology, pathogenesis and epidemiology of malaria in Africa.

The prestigious award was founded by the Japanese government in July 2006.

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Ambassador Shigeo Iwatan said the prize winner would receive an honorarium of close to Sh60 million, as well as a citation and a medal.

At the same time, Special Programmes permanent Secretary Ali Dawood reaffirmed the government’s commitment to work together with professor Were to bring development in communities.

“We want to assure you professor and the entire board that we want to translate these achievements into practical activities,” he pledged.

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