The prize amount of one million US dollars, offered by the State of Kuwait, is awarded annually to individuals or institutions within one of the three fields of Food Security, Health and Education KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait, November 21, 2018\/ --\u00a0Three joint winners of\u00a0the 2018 cycle of\u00a0Al\u00a0Sumait\u00a0Prize\u00a0for African Development\u00a0in the\u00a0field of\u00a0Health\u00a0have been endorsed by the award\u2019s Board of Trustees,\u00a0in recognition of\u00a0their exemplary work in\u00a0health improvement\u00a0on the African continent.\u00a0 Following\u00a0consideration of the jury and selection committees\u2019\u00a0reports, the Board of Trustees\u00a0has\u00a0decided to award half\u00a0of\u00a0the\u00a0Prize to\u00a0Professor Salim S.\u00a0Abdool\u00a0Karim,\u00a0Director of the Centre for the AIDS Program of Research, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa and Professor at Columbia University.\u00a0The second half of the prize\u00a0is\u00a0to be\u00a0shared\u00a0equally between\u00a0Professor Sheila K. West\u00a0Vice Chair for Research Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and\u00a0the\u00a0Rakai\u00a0Health Sciences Program, which is a nonprofit independent research center based in\u00a0Rakai, Uganda. Professor\u00a0Abdool\u00a0Karim\u00a0has been\u00a0jointly\u00a0awarded\u00a0the prize\u00a0for his recognised contributions to science in HIV\u00a0treatment and prevention\u00a0over\u00a0the past three decades, which have led to significant changes in health policy and practices\u00a0worldwide. He\u00a0has published more than 350 papers in world-class medical journals and his efforts in research on prevention and treatment of AIDS patients\u00a0has been\u00a0a major factor in the decline in HIV\/AIDS and mortality rates in Africa and the world. His findings on HIV-TB, a leading cause of death in Africa, are specifically mentioned in many country treatment policies and guidelines, and are being implemented worldwide. The impact is highly tangible (eg. HIV-TB deaths have halved in South Africa since 2012). Professor West\u00a0has been\u00a0jointly\u00a0awarded\u00a0the prize\u00a0in recognition for her dedicated research focused in Africa on ways to improve\u00a0trichiasis\u00a0surgery outcomes and eliminate blinding trachoma. Her work has contributed to\u00a0the\u00a0control of blindness for\u00a0both children and adults. She has been instrumental in the development of the World Health Organization SAFE strategy for Trachoma prevention and control, a sustainable strategy that is now widely used throughout the world\u00a0and is preventing blindness among both children and adults. Professor West continues her work\u00a0on\u00a0neglected tropical diseases in the poorest communities\u00a0with partners across the globe. The\u00a0third\u00a0joint\u00a0winner of the 2018 prize is\u00a0the\u00a0Rakai\u00a0Health Sciences Program (RHSP) in recognition for its important role in improving public health in the African continent by fighting against HIV\/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, and for discovering\u00a0-three decades ago-\u00a0the first clinical symptoms of what was then a new medical phenomenon called "slim disease\u201d\u00a0on the African\u00a0continent. The program also succeeded in documenting the importance of male circumcision and its positive impact as an effective means of reducing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, while the publications of the program in prestigious medical journals have had a significant impact on health policies in Africa and the world. RHSP employs 350 full-time Ugandan research and clinical staff that include epidemiologists, demographers, clinical and basic science researchers, behavioral, laboratory scientists, and research support staff. \u00a0Additional RHSP staff, about 370, provide HIV treatment and prevention services resulting from RHSP research. H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah,\u00a0Deputy Prime\u00a0Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chairman of\u00a0Al\u00a0Sumait\u2019s Board of Trustees\u00a0said: "Our goal with this prize is to promote positive change across Africa, and these newly announced laureates of the Al-Sumait\u00a0Prize for African Development have been working tirelessly in their field of Health to create a positive and sustainable difference across Africa and the world.\u201d Dr.\u00a0Kwaku\u00a0Aning,\u00a0Chairman of the\u00a0Ghana Atomic Energy Commission\u00a0(GAEC) and\u00a0Member of\u00a0Al\u00a0Sumait\u00a0Prize\u00a0Board,\u00a0 said: \u201cThe achievements of all the winners for the award this year represent a high level of commitment to the challenges facing the\u00a0African continent in \u200b\u200bhealth care. The efforts of two of the three winners are focused on ways to treat and prevent HIV\/AIDS, which is the leading cause of death in Africa. "The third winner focuses on the treatment of blinding trachoma, which is not a direct cause of high mortality, but a disease that is described as an \u201corphan" affecting members of the poorest communities in developing countries. The decision to award the prize to three winners is a testament to the dedication of all candidates to efforts to improve health in the African continent." Dr. Adnan\u00a0Shihab-Eldin,\u00a0Director General of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS), said: \u201cOur Laureates for the 2018 Al\u00a0Sumait\u00a0Prize are responsible for measurable improvements to the lives and life expectancy of millions of those suffering from HIV and Trachoma and decreasing death rates of AIDS, through innovative research on treatment and prevention and in championing sustainable changes in health polices across Africa and the world.\u201d The prize amount of one million\u00a0US dollars, offered by the State of Kuwait, is awarded annually to individuals or institutions within one of the three fields of Food Security, Health and Education. The Board of Trustees (BOT), which \u00a0oversees the prize,\u00a0 is chaired by H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah,\u00a0Deputy Prime\u00a0Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and its members include:\u00a0 Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr. Kwaku Aning, Chairman of the Governing Board of Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Chairman of Ghana Nuclear Energy Institute and Former Deputy Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Abdulatif Alhamad, Director General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Tareq Al-Mutawa, Executive Member of the Board of Public Gathering Charity Committee and Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Africa, The World Bank. The\u00a0Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) provides\u00a0all the administrative and\u00a0logistic support. An initiative of His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber\u00a0Al- Sabah, the Amir of the State of Kuwait,\u00a0which provides the annual million\u00a0dollar,\u00a0the Prize honors the late Dr.\u00a0Abdulrahman\u00a0Al\u00a0Sumait, a Kuwaiti doctor who dedicated his life to addressing the health challenges confronting Africa.