Professor Salim Abdool Karim, director of the centre for AIDS programme of Research at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa was awarded the prestigious Al Sumait Prize for African Development by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah in a ceremony held on 5th December in Kuwait.
The prize money of $1 million will be shared equally between the other recipient, Professor Sheila K. West, vice chair for Research, Wilmer Eye Institute at John Hopkins University and Rakai Sciences Program, which is a non-profit independent research centre based in Rakai, Uganda.
Prof Salim has been awarded the prize for his contributions to science in HIV treatment and prevention over the past three decades, which have led to significant changes in health policies and practices worldwide.
His publication of more than 350 papers in world-class medical journals and his efforts in research, prevention and treatment of AIDS patients has been a major factor in the decline in HIV/AIDS and mortality rates in Africa and the world.
Prof Salim’s 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 in that the deaths have halved in South Africa since 2012.
Speaking to The Times Kuwait in an exclusive interview, Prof Salim said the award was for the ground-breaking work he did along with his wife Quarraisha Abdool Karim, a South African epidemiologist, known for her many contributions to HIV/Aids research. She is the Associate Scientific Director at CAPRISA, the AIDS Research Center in Durban, South Africa.
“I was amazed and deeply honored and humbled by this gesture from Kuwait, and I thank them profusely for it. Prof Salim spoke extensively on the HIV epidemic and the progress made in fighting it, which is now benefitting millions of people in Africa and the world over.