March 7, 2013, 4:10 pm
By The Carter Center
On March 5, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) awarded Dr. Adetokunbo O. Lucas the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award for Dr. Lucas’ “outstanding humanitarian efforts and achievements that have contributed to improving the health of humankind.” The NFID, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating the public and health care professionals about infectious disease, has given the award since 1997 with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, as the first recipients. Other luminaries in global health to receive the award include: Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Dr. William H. Foege.
On March 5, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) awarded Dr. Adetokunbo O. Lucas the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award for Dr. Lucas’ “outstanding humanitarian efforts and achievements that have contributed to improving the health of humankind.” (Photo: National Foundation for Infectious Diseases)
Carter Center Vice President for Health Programs Dr. Donald Hopkins greets Dr. Adetokunbo O. Lucas, who is attending the Carter Center’s 17th annual River Blindness Program Review meeting, being held at the Center in Atlanta March 5,-7, 2013, to evaluate and discuss the River Blindness Program’s achievements and goals for next year. (Photo: The Carter Center/L. Satterfield)
For half a century, Dr. Lucas has devoted his life to public health, and has been involved with nearly every public health issue in his homeland, Nigeria. At the global level, Dr. Lucas served for a decade as the founding director of the Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at the World Health Organization in Geneva. The program resulted in the development of new and improved tools for the control of diseases like leprosy and river blindness that affect the world’s poorest and most neglected people.
President Carter himself nominated Dr. Lucas for the award, citing his important role in follow-up to the so-called “Guinea worm cease-fire” during Sudan’s civil war in 1995, which allowed health workers the opportunity to enter into war-torn areas and conduct Guinea worm disease prevention as well as other health efforts.
Dr. Lucas has remained connected to The Carter Center as a member of the Center’s International Task Force for Disease Eradication. The task force is a group of scientific experts from around the world that works to evaluate disease control and prevention and the potential for eradicating infectious diseases.
President Carter says that Dr. Lucas “is certainly one of the most deserving individuals we know of for the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award.”