Pakistani researcher receives international award

KARACHI: A Pakistani professor, Dr Zulfiqar A Bhutta, has been presented with the prestigious Turkish award, the 2015 International TÃBA Academy Prize, in health and life sciences.

Dr Bhutta, founding director of the Centre for Excellence in Women and Child Health at the Aga Khan University and the co-director of the Sick Kids Centre for Global Child Health in Toronto, received the award from the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey.

Presented by the Turkish Academy of Sciences, the annual TÃBA Academy prizes, in three categories, are given to scientists with original, leading and path-breaking works in their fields. Dr Bhutta received the award in recognition of his ground breaking research on mothers’ and children’s health and contributions to global health and policy.

With over 650 peer-reviewed publications and eight books to his name, he has played a key role in global efforts to improve the health of mothers and children through evidence-based interventions that have been the base of many national health policies.

At the launch of the new Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health in September, Dr Bhutta represented AKU, which pledged its commitment to invest over US$ 85 million to improve capacity and to develop programmes that will reach over 15 million women and children in South-Central Asia and East Africa, and potentially save a million lives.

In Pakistan, he has been a driving force in improving maternal and child health through his work with the Lady Health Workers programme and in advocating for key changes to national and provincial health and nutrition policies.

I accept this award with great humility, on behalf of many in my team who have worked hard over the years to uphold the vision and mission of the Aga Khan University in supporting research and scholarship to address the lives of poor and marginalized women and children, said Dr Bhutta.

The fact that it comes from Turkey, a leader in science and research in the Islamic world, based on the nomination from the Pakistan Academy of Sciences, makes it all the more rewarding, he added. Other two recipients of TÜBA Academy Prize included Niyazi Serdar Sariciftci of Linz Johannes Kepler University in basic and engineering sciences, and Mehmet Genc of Istanbul Sehir University in social sciences and humanities.

Dr Bhutta had also received two prestigious international prizes last year – the WHO Ihsan Dogramaci Family Health Foundation Prize, and the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Samuel J. Fomon Nutrition Award.

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