Geneva, Switzerland (18 November 2020) – The winners of this year’s Kochon Awards and the Stop TB Affected Community and Civil Society Awards were announced on the first day of the Stop TB Partnership (STBP) 33rd Board Meeting that is taking place virtually from 18-20 November 2020. The Board Meeting opened with addresses by Honorable Ministers of Health of India, Hon. Dr Harsh Vardhan, and Kazakhstan, Hon. Mr Alexey Tsoy, followed by high-level discussions of the need for strengthened political and financial commitments for the global TB response.
All of the winners were selected on the basis of their enormous and unique personal contribution to continue caring for those people that suffer for tuberculosis (TB) and their dedication to raising awareness of the many hurdles to overcome the disease.
“I could not be more proud of the many individuals and organizations who each day commits their own blood, sweat and tears in trying to care of others and help end this terrible disease. I know that if we all work together we will find a way to end TB,” said Dr. Lucica Ditiu, Executive Director of the Stop TB Partnership.
Riaped, an association of nurses in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), is the recipient of the 2020 Kochon Prize in recognition of their tireless efforts to support poverty-stricken children suffering from TB related spine difficulties. An independent selection committee hailed Riaped as the winner after been particularly moved by the personal dedication of its nurses. The nurses take great pride in looking after those they care for, they in fact give everything they have, including their salaries to ensure that the children are not only cured of the disease, but that they receive the rehabilitation, nutritional, and social support they need to be able to walk again.
“Receiving this prestigious prize not only affirms the excellence of our nurses but it also gives us wings to fly further to reach more children with TB of the spine who are in desperate need of care,” said Constant Bushiri Assani, Riaped’s National Coordinator who was participating virtually from Kinshasa, Congo.
The Kochon awards were launched in 2006 by the Kochon Foundation, a non-profit foundation based in the Republic of Korea. The winning prize of USD 65,000 prize is the largest prize globally devoted to TB. The theme of this year’s Kochon Prizes 2020 was centered on highlighting the many efforts done of frontline responders such as nurses in the continued fight against TB and at the same time marking the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife.
Mr. Doo Hyun Kim, Kochon Foundation Chairman, welcomed the announcement by saying: “Nurses in all of our countries around the world are the heart and soul of the health care system. We all witnessed this in 2020 with the COVID-19 response. As such, to honor the work of TB nurses, as caregivers, counselors, researchers, innovators, and advocates, we felt compelled to dedicate this year’s Kochon Prize to TB Nurses.”
A second prize, the Kochon Honorable Award, has been given to Sister Hiwot Menbere, an Ethiopian nurse who supports people affected by multi-drug resistant TB in Oromia Regional State, Ethopia. Amongst her many achievements, Sister Menbere singlehandedly established an MDR-TB treatment center in 2013, trained a team of nurses to provide a high standard of people-centered care, including social and psychosocial care. “As an MDR-TB nurse, this award is enormous not only for me but for my fellow MDR-TB nurses from all around the world,” said Sister Menbere.
The 2020 Stop TB Affected Community and Civil Society Award winners have also been announced. In its fourth year, the theme of the award for 2020 focused on recognizing the achievements of TB affected communities and civil society to overcome the obstacles of the COVID-19 pandemic to champion TB at the global, regional, or national level.
TB Champions Network Kenya received the national prize in honor of their efforts to mobilize and coordinate TB affected communities to participate in national Global Fund processes in Kenya. The network used innovative approaches to facilitate and increase community engagement, including through the provision of mobile phone data packs.
The regional prize was awarded to the Americas TB Coalition, highlighting their work to actively engage TB affected communities to cooperate at the regional level. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the coalition documented the challenges for people affected by TB, despite the organization’s lack of core funding to support their work.
At the global level, the award was given to a partnership consisting of 10 civil society and affected community organizations and networks across several countries and regions who mobilized to conduct a survey, develop a report, and launch a powerful call to action from civil society concerning the impact of COVID-19 on TB response. Using limited resources and maneuvering the challenges presented by pandemic-related restrictions, the partnership made an invaluable contribution to the global debate on the need to strengthen the global TB response.
The partnership members are ACTION, Global Coalition of TB Activists, Global TB Caucus, KANCO, McGill International TB Centre, RESULTS, Stop TB Partnership Affected Community Delegation, Stop TB Partnership Developing Country NGO Delegation, TBpeople, TBPPM.org, and We Are TB.
All award winners were celebrated during the STBP Board Meeting following a robust assessment of the status of their global effort to end TB, including progress against the Sustainable Development Goals and the targets arising from the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting on TB and the STBP Global Plan.