Prof. Uche Amazigo

Prince Mahidol Laureate In Public Health

Professor Uche Amazigo, retired Director of the World Health Organization African Programme for Onchocerciasis {River blindness}, is a Public Health Specialist and one of the few Africans to head and direct a specialized UN Agency, and lead, a highly successful multilateral partnership in global health.

She holds a PhD from the University of Vienna (Austria) and was a Takemi Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health (USA). A professional, who has devoted most of her academic, public and international career to community participation; improving and strengthening health systems; promoting the elimination of neglected tropical diseases {NTD).

Professor Amazigo is honoured for her leadership and professional accomplishment, in particular, her pioneer discovery of the disability and social stigma/isolation of adolescent girls caused by River blindness skin disease. Her groundbreaking research contributed to the creation of the World Health Organization African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (WHO/APOC) in 1995 – a programme she directed for six years (2005 – 2011}. She was instrumental in moving the fight against River blindness from control to elimination.

Professor Amazigo’s other major contribution involves the innovative and revolutionary “community-directed treatment {CDT} strategy – heralded as one of the most effective strategies of community participation in public health. She has received numerous awards and honours including In 2012; she won the prestigious Prince Mahidol Laureate award – invested by the King of Thailand. In 2013, she received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She is a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science (FAS) and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. She is a Trustee of Sightsavers – United Kingdom, and The TY Danjuma Foundation – Nigeria, and serves as an advisor to several global Boards. She has several publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

Since retirement, Professor Amazigo spearheads a Non-Governmental Organization – Pan-African Community Initiative on Education and Health {PACIEH}.