Dr. Oriol Mitjà, Dr. Bonaventura Clotet, the Ilumináfrica Foundation and the company Sphera Overall Health Care were recognised for their solidarity in the scope of health and well-being and their commitment towards accomplishing a better world through the 5th DKV Medicine and Solidarity Awards, which this year has enjoyed the attendance of the Honorary President Her Majesty Queen Sofía.
The four honourees received their awards during the awards ceremony held on Thursday, 24 May at Casa América in Madrid, which was presided by the Honourable Minister of Employment and Social Security Mrs. Fátima Báñez.
Over 250 people attended the event, including representatives from institutions, the healthcare sector and the social-healthcare sector, such as Mr. Borja Fanjul, Director-General of Disability Support Services; the Honorable Mr. Fernando Prados, Deputy Minister of the Regional Ministry of Health of the Autonomous Community; Mr. Antonio Sánchez Díaz, Muface's Managing Director; Dr. Miguel Ángel Sánchez Chillón, President of the Medical Association of Madrid; and Mrs. Elena Jiménez of Andrade, President of the Association of Insurance Brokers of Madrid. The event was also attended by the jury members of the 5th edition of the DKV Medicine and Solidarity Awards, as well as several representatives of DKV Seguros.
Four awards and a second prize
Dr. Oriol Mitjà won the category DKV Award to Humanitarian Doctors, in recognition of the valuable work carried out by healthcare volunteers, for his dedication to eradicating yaws. Yaws is a neglected tropical disease that appears on the skin and affects every year over 100,000 children between 5 and 15 years of age in 13 endemic countries in West Africa, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. In 2012 from a research platform on the island of Lihir (Papua and New Guinea), Dr. Oriol Mitjà, a scientist at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGLOBAL) -centre created by the La Caixa Banking Foundation-, discovered that a single dose of Azithromycin can eliminate the disease in a quick, painless and affordable way. This discovery laid the foundation of the World Health Organisations's strategy (Morges strategy) to eradicate the illness in 2020 by means of a mass distribution of this antibiotic.
Dr. Bonaventura Clotet was awarded the DKV Career Award, which acknowledges the longstanding dedication of professionals or groups of professionals, especially those involved in social projects related to medicine and healthcare. Dr. Clotet has dedicated more than 35 years to the search of a cure for HIV infection and to eliminate the stigma associated with AIDS, with a view to improving the quality of life infected people and obtaining resources for research. He is currently the chairman of Fundación Lucha contra el Sida (Fight Against Aids Foundation), directs the IrsiCaixa AIDS Research Institute and is the Head of the Infectious Diseases Service of the Germans Trias i Pujol Hospital in Badalona (Barcelona). Since 2006, he has been co-directing the HIVACAT project, which is a AIDS Vaccination Research Programme in Catalonia. In addition he is a scientific adviser for Aelix Therapeutics and AlbaJuna Therapeutics, two IrsiCaixa spin-offs. Thanks to the many advances achieved, Dr. Clotet has become one of the worldwide references in HIV research.
The Ilumináfrica Foundation, through its “Luz a sus ojos - telemedicina en Chad” project and thanks to the work of its members -led by Dr Enrique Mingue Muro, the foundation's chairman-, was the worthy winner of the DKV Professional Award, which supports excellent performance of health professionals and DVK Seguros hospitals. This foundation's project provides first class visual assistance in one of the most depressed areas of the planet. Since 2007, the Ilumináfrica Foundation has moved 117 collaborating practitioners and 54 collaborating non-practitioners to Chad in 40 expeditions, has conducted 4,145 surgical procedures and 17,869 consultations, and has handed out over 5,120 prescription glasses and 4,053 sunglasses.
The Award to Innovation in Digital Health, which recognises projects that focus on innovation in e-Health in the social arena, has been given to Sphera Global Health Care for its research project "The impact of telemedicine in community healthcare centres in rural areas of Rwanda." This project consists in the implementation of a telemedicine platform and telepaediatric cases with biomedical devices in Rwanda, and its aim is to help paediatricians at the most specialised hospital in the country, the King Faisal Hospital (KFH), with their consultations in public health centres located in rural areas where there are no practitioners. The key aspect is to increase access to healthcare services without having to depend on large investments and by minimising some of the issues encountered with the qualification of the human resources and the distance.
A Second Prize was awarded in the Career category to Dr. María Luisa Manrique Revilla for her 21 years of voluntary work in the healthcare training of professionals, young people and women in Mozambique. for her efforts in raising aid to improve the state of health and education of children in this country; and for raising awareness towards these needs in our environment. This second prize is a cash award of €3,000.
These awards are a reference in the sector
During his speech, the CEO of DKV Seguros, Dr. Josep Santacreu, ensured that “we are very committed to these awards and very proud to have made them a reference in the sector and to have reached this 5th edition with a trajectory including over 1,150 candidates, 20 awarded projects and 185,000 euros in donations.” According to Santacreu, “these awards represent DKV's acknowledgement of the excellent work of solidarity carried out by professionals in the Spanish social-healthcare sector.”
In this sense, the 5th DKV Medicine and Solidarity awards feature a cash award of 10,000 euros for each one of the four categories: The awards aim to recognise great initiatives, and also allocate the economic and media support necessary to allow them to continue their work and become a tool for transforming healthcare. The jury for the awards is made up of thirteen professionals from different fields, all of whom are directly linked to health and social responsibility.
The trophy that all award winners received is one of Catalan artist Jordi Pallarés' works. The painter generously donated one of his works to create the trophy: the painting Mozart (2005) inspired by laboratory blood samples and microscope slides, to symbolise medicine and scientific research. Pallarés has exhibited his works with the DKV Integralia Foundation on several occasions.