Dr Babatunde Olowokure Awarded the “For People’s Health” Medal by Viet Nam’s Ministry of Health

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Dr Olowokure received his award from Vice Health Minister Prof Nguyen Thanh Long
WHO/Viet Nam
Dr Olowokure received his award from Vice Health Minister, Prof Nguyen Thanh Long

Dr Babatunde Olowokure, epidemiologist and former team leader of the Emerging Disease Surveillance and Response (ESR) unit at the WHO Representative Office in Viet Nam, was awarded the People’s Health Medal from the Ministry of Health. The People’s Health Medal is a top honor given to people who have made significant public health contributions to Viet Nam.

Dr Olowokure received his award from Vice Health Minister, Prof Nguyen Thanh Long in a ceremony held at the Ministry of Health office on 28 October. Prof Nguyen Thanh Long thanked Dr Olowokure for his efforts in fighting emerging infectious diseases in Viet Nam, particularly with regards to his contribution to help control outbreaks of influenza A(H5N1), Hand Foot and Mouth Disease and the prevention of influenza A(H7N9).

Dr Olowokure started working in the WHO Viet Nam Representative Office in May 2010 and worked closely with the Ministry of Health on preparedness and response activities for public health emergencies and risks, including pandemic preparedness, and the threat of known, new and emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza H5N1, hand foot and mouth disease, MERS CoV and avian influenza H7N9. He played a key strategic role in accelerating Viet Nam’s progress towards achieving the International Health Regulations (2005) core capacities, and supported functions of the IHR National Focal point. Using the Asia Pacific Strategy for Emerging Diseases as a framework, under his leadership the ESR team implemented a number of activities that strengthened surveillance, laboratory systems, infection control and risk communication capacity.

He supported activities that promoted the One Health approach, including the Joint Circular on Guidelines for Coordinated Prevention and Control of Zoonotic Diseases which was issued jointly by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and the Ministry of Health. He was also actively involved in championing the need for joint efforts to control rabies in Viet Nam.

The Award ceremony was attended by Dr Takeshi Kasai - WHO Representative in Vietnam, Ministry of Health representatives, WHO and FAO colleagues, donor agency representatives from USAID and US CDC, other public health organizations, and the media.

For more information, please contact

Ms. Tran Thi Loan
Tel: 84-4-943 3734/5/6 (ext. 83886)
Email: media.vtn@wpro.who.int