Bangladeshi vaccine scientist, Pakistani microfinancier among Ramon Magsaysay awardees
A Bangladeshi vaccine scientist and a microfinance pioneer from Pakistan were among the five recipients of this year's Ramon Magsaysay Award - regarded as the Asian version of the Nobel Prize - announced on Tuesday. Apart from Dr. Firdausi Qadri from Bangladesh and Muhammad Amjad Saqib from Pakistan, the other winners include individuals from different countries.
Who are the other winners?
The other winners are Filipino fisher and community environmentalist Roberto Ballon, American Steven Muncy for humanitarian work and refugee assistance, and Indonesian torch bearer for investigative journalism, Watchdoc. Dr. Qadri, 70, who has a doctorate from Liverpool University, UK, joined International Center For Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, (an international health research institute based in Dhaka) in 1988.
Dr. Qadri has developed an affordable oral cholera vaccine
Today she is credited with developing an affordable oral cholera vaccine and the typhoid conjugate vaccine for adults, children, and infants. Most of her work is focused on congested slum areas of developing countries.
Dr. Qadri was recognized for life-long devotion to scientific profession
"She is being recognized for her passion and life-long devotion to the scientific profession," the award citation said. "She is being recognized for her vision of building the human and physical infrastructure that will benefit the coming generation of Bangladeshi scientists, women scientists in particular, and her untiring contributions to vaccine development, advanced biotechnological therapeutics, and critical research saving millions of lives," it said.
Saqib has developed an interest-and-collateral-free microfinance program
Saqib, 64, who is a Pakistani development worker, has developed the "first-of-its-kind" interest-and-collateral-free microfinance program, Akhuwat, which uses places of worship to disburse zero-interest loans, recording a phenomenal loan repayment rate of 99.9 percent. Akhuwat has taken up a vast array of social support programs in education, health services, clothes bank, anti-social discrimination, and COVID-19 emergency aid.
Here is what Saqib's citation read
"Saqib is being recognized for his intelligence and compassion that enabled him to create the largest microfinance institution in Pakistan," read the citation. "He is being recognized for his inspiring belief that human goodness and solidarity will find ways to eradicate poverty; and his determination to stay with a mission that has already helped millions of Pakistani families," read the citation.
The Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia's highest honor
Established in 1957, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is Asia's highest honor. It celebrates the memory and leadership example of the third Philippine President. This year's Award winners will each receive a certificate, a medallion bearing the likeness of the late President, and a cash prize.