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Lao Professor Wins Asia Innovation Award

Source: Vientiane Times

A university lecturer has raised the profile of Laos in the field of medicine after winning an international award.

Professor Dr Mayfong Mayxay, who is Vice President of the University of Health Sciences, is one of 12 people in Asia to receive an Asia Innovation Award under the Hitachi Global Foundation Asia Innovation Award 2020.

“As a researcher and lecturer in the field of medicine, I am very pleased, honoured and humbled to be given this prestigious innovation research award. This achievement is not only mine but also of the whole research team of the Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit or LOMWRU at Mahosot Hospital and the Mahidol-Oxford Research Unit or MORU in Bangkok,” Prof Mayfong told Vientiane Times this week after receiving the award.

“The award not only encourages me to carry out further research to benefit the health of the Lao people but will hopefully inspire young people in Laos to become interested in research work.”

The research paper submitted to the Foundation by Professor Mayfong was titled ‘Mass drug administration with malaria medicines called Dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine + primaquine as a tool for malaria elimination in Laos’.

Professor Mayfong says malaria is a very old but life-threatening communicable disease, which is a disease of poverty and causes poverty. It infects more than 200 million people and claims at least 400,000 lives each year worldwide. Eliminating malaria saves lives and unlocks human potential. Investing in malaria prevention and elimination means investing in healthier and more prosperous societies.

“Our research work potentially contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals – including ending poverty and hunger, improving health and well-being, and ensuring quality education. By applying and piloting our research findings, we are confident that we will be able to eliminate malaria from Laos, from the Asean region and elsewhere by 2030, and that all of us will be living in a malaria-free world one day in the future,” he said.

The Asia Innovation Award scheme was launched in 2020 to promote science, technology and innovation that contributes to resolving social issues and realising a sustainable society in the Asean region.

In addition to being Vice President of the University of Health Sciences (UHS), Professor Mayfong holds other important academic positions.

He is Chairman of the Research Promotion and Management Committee at UHS; President of the Lao Infectious Disease Society (LIDS); Vice-Chairman of the Lao One Health University Network (LAOHUN); Vice-President of the Lao National Immunisation Technical Advisory Group (NITAG); Vice-Chairman of the Lao National Ethics Committee for Health Research (NECHR); Head of Field Research, Lao-Oxford-Mahosot Hospital-Wellcome Trust Research Unit (LOMWRU) at Mahosot Hospital; and the Editor-in-Chief of the Lao Medical Journal.

Professor Mayfong is also a member of the National Assembly’s 9th legislature.