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Hamdan Medical Award Holds the first of the 12th Term Winners' Webinars 16 February 2023
Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al ‎Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences held the first webinar in its ‎series on the topic of infectious diseases, where some of the ‎winners of the 12th term of the Awards will share their diverse ‎experience and knowledge with the participants.
With the participation of 900 delegates from various health sectors, all attendees received 1 CME credit hour accredited by the University of UAE.
The first webinar in this series focused on the lessons learned from the ‎elimination of Group A Meningococcal Meningitis from Sub-‎Saharan Africa. The feature talk was provided by Prof. Marc ‎LaForce, Clinical ‎Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone School of Medicine and ‎Director of ‎the Meningitis Vaccine Project. Prof. LaForce is the ‎recipient of the 12th Hamdan Award for ‎Medical Research Excellence ‎on the topic of prevention of infectious diseases. The webinar was chaired by Prof. Suleiman Al Hammadi, Dean of College of ‎Medicine and Professor of Pediatrics at the Mohammed Bin ‎Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences.
During the webinar, Prof. LaForce discussed the aims of the project to eliminate epidemic meningitis, which had infected 250,000 people and resulted in 25,000 deaths during the 1996 epidemic in Africa. The meningitis vaccine project addressed a public health problem not manageable by previous mass vaccinations programs in response to epidemics. They were expensive and largely ineffective because they were often given too late.
The development of the Men A Vaccine was created with the support of the Gates Foundation as a 10-year partnership between WHO and PATH. The program required a model of cooperation between different stakeholders, which included scientific collaborations for the initial development of the vaccine in Amsterdam, France, and USA, stabilization technology transfer, to Serum Institute of India, followed by Clinical trials from 2005 -2009. The WHO prequalification was obtained in June 2010, following which 20 million doses of the vaccine were administered in three African countries.
On his part, His Excellency Abdullah bin Souqat, Executive Director of the Award, praised the level of attendance and participation, and stressed the importance of organizing such events which contribute significantly towards improving the health sector in the country.