Prof. Jun Kobayashi (faculty of Medicine School of Health Sciences at University of the Ryukyus)
Wins the Third Zero Malaria Award

The Zero Malaria Award ceremony was held on May 31st, 2016.

The Zero Malaria Award is given to individuals and groups for their outstanding contributions to malaria eradication by a nonprofit organization Malaria No More, which is dedicated in the worldwide action to end malaria and has its head office in the US.

University of the Ryukyus has been undertaking public health projects commissioned by JICA since 1992, and total 180 people including doctors and nurses have been sent to Laos. They have worked to implement measures against various infection diseases as well as to improve poor water and sewerage facilities, and to rebuild local hospitals with modern, advanced medical care level.

Among those, Prof. Kobayashi has been awarded the third-class Labor Order from the government of Laos for his long term effort to reduce the number of Malaria patients in Laos.

In addition to his epidemiological expertise, Prof. Kobayashi has engaged in wide range of projects including health education for local children in the region of Southeast Asia, human resource development in research organizations, and invitation of private enterprises’ research division. This comprehensive approach was highly regarded that has led to win the award this time.

Prof. Kobayashi made a comment upon receiving the award: “I am honored to receive this award acknowledging the contribution to eradication of Malaria. I think that the fight against malaria today has shifted its focus from the one against malaria parasite from the one against indifference. In Asia, the number of Malaria patients has dramatically decreased and we have succeeded to drive Malaria risk to certain areas and groups. However, we have found dengue fever and Zika fever in Japan and resurgence of these diseases in the future can be of a great concern due to climate change and increase of inbound travelers. Meanwhile, Malaria can be found constantly like colds in the infected areas so that victims may not be treated appropriately, and also drug-resistant Malaria has emerged. Therefore, there is a good chance for Malaria to be rampant worldwide once again. There a quite a few doctors who have never seen Malaria in countries other than Asia and there have been actual cases that patients’ lost their lives due to diagnostic delay. I will to continue to work in raising awareness that Malaria is not a problem of certain areas but of ours.”

Prof. Kobayashi receives the award.

President Oshiro shares that malaria used be a prevalent disease in Okinawa.

Ms. Iizuka, Secretary-general at Malaria No More Japan, explains their public awareness campaign (advertisements hung in a train).

Research staff members at Prof. Kobayashi’s laboratory join to celebrate the award reception.