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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

NEWS: TNF, SMHF Receive Damien-Dutton Award

Foundations recognized for effective long-term concern and contributions.

Dr. Walsh (center) with Yohei Sasakawa (left) and Professor Kenzo Kiikuni

The Nippon Foundation (TNF) and the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation (SMHF) were jointly presented with the 2008 Damien-Dutton Award at a ceremony in Tokyo on October 10.

Named after Father Damien, the Belgian priest who cared for people with leprosy on the island of Molokai, Hawaii, and Brother Dutton, his American helper, the award is considered the most prestigious in the field of leprosy.

Making the presentation on behalf of the Damien-Dutton Society for Leprosy Aid was Board Member Dr. Douglas Walsh who said, "As many of us are well aware, these two related foundations have played and continue to play a significant role in improvements in the care and management of the worldwide leprosy problem."

Between 1995 and 1999, The Nippon Foundation funded the worldwide distribution of multidrug therapy, and the two foundations are committed to improving the dignity and self-respect of people affected by leprosy. Accepting the award on behalf of their organizations were Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of The Nippon Foundation, and Professor Kenzo Kiikuni, chair of the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation.

The Damien-Dutton Award was established in 1953 to honor an individual or group who has contributed significantly toward the conquest of leprosy through medical care, scientific research, rehabilitation, education, social welfare or philanthropy. The first winner was Stanley Stein, a crusading patient at the National Leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, and founder of The Star newspaper. Other winners include Mother Theresa, John F. Kennedy, the Catholic Medical Mission Board, and the American Leprosy Missions.