Every year The Union presents awards at the Union World Conference on Lung Health. The awards are an important and valued way to recognise the work being conducted by those dedicated to lung health around the world.
This year six awards were presented, honouring contributions from young researchers and lifetime achievers.
The Union awarded three Honorary Memberships, granted to people who have become distinguished through active participation in The Union’s activities and the fulfilment of its goals. These members will serve as informal advisors to The Union.
This year’s Honorary Memberships were awarded to Her Imperial Highness Princess Akishino, of Japan, and Professor Bertie Squire.
HIH Princess Akishino of Japan was awarded the title of Honorary Member of The Union, in recognition of her active participation in The Union’s mission and the fulfilment of its goals, and her lifelong commitment to ending TB.
Professor Bertie Squire is a long-standing member of The Union, but most recently served The Union in its highest membership role, as President of the organisation from 2008 through 2011, and then continued to serve on the Board as the Immediate Past President form 2011-2016. He has been active in numerous activities of The Union – from conference participation to leading consultations in many scientific aspects.
Dr Joseph Amolo Aluoch collected his award in person at this year’s General Assembly, having been awarded the title in 2017. Dr Aluoch has been active in The Union since the mid-1970s when he was the Coordinator of the National TB Control Programme in Kenya. He has been a long-term friend and advocate for the mission of The Union. Dr Aluoch is commonly referred to as the “Father of Respiratory Medicine” in Kenya.
The Union Medal is The Union’s highest honour, and is awarded to members who have made an outstanding contribution to the control of tuberculosis or lung health by their scientific work and/or actions in the field.
This year’s Union Medal winners are Professor Andrew Nunn, from the UK, and Professor Sir Alimuddin Zumla, from Zambia.
For half a century Andrew has been at the forefront of research efforts to improve the treatment of TB. He has played a major role in many of the most important studies that have resulted in better treatments for people infected with TB throughout the world. Andrew also contributed to research in other areas of respiratory disease from the first trial of inhaled steroids to surveys of asthma deaths.
Professor Sir Alimuddin Zumla, received his award via a pre-recorded speech since he was unable to attend in person. Professor Zumla’s work has focused on improving global health, with an emphasis on assisting disadvantaged peoples of the world.
The Karel Styblo Public Health Prize acknowledges a health worker or a community organisation for contributions to TB control over a period of 10 years or more. This year’s prize went to Oksana Ponomarenko for making an outstanding contribution to TB control on a local, national and global level, with a focus on hard-to-treat, drug-resistant TB among vulnerable patients through her role as Country Director in Partners In Health (Russia).
The Union Scientific Prize acknowledges researchers at any stage in their career for work on TB or lung health published in the past five years. The prize this year was awarded to Katherine Fielding, Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology at The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where she has been a senior investigator and statistician on a series of ground-breaking trials.
Dr Lorenzo Guglielmetti was awarded The Union Young Investigator Prize, an award that acknowledges a researcher for work in lung health published in the past five years, when aged 35 years or younger. Dr Guglielmetti has an impressive body of research on optimised treatment for drug resistant TB (DR-TB), enhancing the evidence generated by the early availability of bedaquiline and delamanid.
The Stephen Lawn TB-HIV Research Leadership Prize was established in 2016 through a global partnership between the TB Centre in London, The Desmond Tutu HIV Centre in Cape Town and The Union. It acknowledges young researchers under 40 years of age who are conducting promising work focused on reducing the disease burden of TB and HIV/AIDS in Africa. This year’s winner is Dr Christine Sekaggya-Wiltshire, who leads the HIV-TB clinic at the Infectious Diseases Institute at Makerere University in Kampala. Dr Sekaggya-Wiltshire supervises care for complex cases of TB that are referred from health centres, and has conducted pharmacokinetic studies on anti-TB drugs in HIV patients.
In addition to The Union’s own awards, a further prize was awarded during the Union World Conference. This was the prestigious Princess Chichibu Memorial TB Global Award, recognising outstanding contributions to global TB control, which was this year presented to Dr Amir Khan for his significant achievements in anti-TB activities.
Nominations for the 2019 Union Awards for next year will be launched at the beginning of 2019, and will be presented at the 50th Union World Conference on Lung Health. To find out more about Union Awards or make a nomination, please consult the Union website.