Dr Hideyo Noguchi was a prominent Japanese bacteriologist who made many important contributions to our understanding of tropical diseases, particularly those affecting Africa, in the early 20th century.
In memory of Dr Noguchi’s major scientific contributions and dedication to his research, the Government of Japan established the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize in 2006.
The prize honours individuals or institutions who have made outstanding contributions to, and who are still active in, the fields of medical research or medical services in Africa. The inaugural awards were made in 2008, 80 years since Hideyo Noguchi’s death.
The first laureates of the prize were Brian Greenwood, Manson Professor of Clinical Tropical Medicine at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, UK, honoured for his work on malaria, and Professor Miriam K Were, Chairperson of the National AIDS Control Council of Kenya, honoured for her work in advancing community-based health services.
The award ceremony was held on 28 May 2008, the first day of TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) IV. The prize will be awarded every five years to coincide with this conference.
In 2013, Professor Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, was awarded the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize for Medical Research. Professor Piot was a co-discoverer of the Ebola virus and has done pioneering collaborative work on HIV and infectious disease control across Africa. Over the past 25 years, as founding Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, he has led world-wide efforts to research and tackle AIDS and other threats to global health. Professor Piot formally received the award from the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, on 1 June, the opening day of the 5th Tokyo International Conference on African Development.