A Ghanaian Scientist, Professor Fred Binka, has been awarded the ‘Ronald Ross Medal’ for 2010, by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Prof. Binka, who is currently the Dean of the Faculty of School of Public Health at the College of Medical Sciences, University of Ghana, Legon, was recognised for his contribution to research on a wide range of disease problems in the tropics, especially on malaria.
Regarded as one of Britain’s most prestigious award in science, it was instituted in 1997 to award scientists who research into malaria. Prof. Binka is the first scientist from a developing country to be awarded the medal.
It was named after Ronald Ross, a British scientist who was the first to discover that malaria was transmitted to man by a mosquito bite, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1902. The award was set up to commemorate the centenary of Ross’s discovery of the transmission of malaria by the mosquito.
At a lunch organised in his honour after the award by the INDEPTH Network in Accra, Prof. Binka said “I feel good about this award because it is Ronald Ross who is regarded as the father of Malaria”.
Prof. Binka, who dedicated his award to INDEPTH, a health and demographic surveillance system based in Africa, Asia, Central America and Oceania, did most of his research work when he was the head of the Navrongo Health Research Institute and researched into several other areas such as the importance of Vitamin A supplementation for children, the use of the insecticide treated bed nets, among others.
Prof. Binka, told the Daily Graphic after the lunch that young scientists must ensure that they published their research work, saying that it was only when they published them that they would be recognised.
“The problem with scientists in the developing world is that they do not publish their research work; research and publishing are synonymous,” he added.
The main force behind the setting up of the Malaria Clinical Trails Alliance (MCTA) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was to strengthen the capacity of research centres in Africa to conduct trials of malarial treatment and vaccines.
Prof. Binka commended Ghana and the African continent as a whole, saying that although there were many diseases, malaria continued to get the most attention.
He said the country was doing well in the fight against malaria, and called on all, especially policy makers and politicians, to commit more resources to finding a lasting solution to the menace of malaria in the country.
The Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Elias Sory, who was present at the lunch, commended Prof. Binka for his achievement.