Professor Agnes Binagwaho Receives Humanitarian Award from International Gynecologic Cancer Society

Prof. Binagwaho

Prof. Agnes Binagwaho of Rwanda has been honored with the 2023 Humanitarian Award from the International Gynecologic Cancer Society for her exceptional dedication to improving women’s health and well-being, particularly in the face of challenging global circumstances. This prestigious award recognizes her tireless efforts to combat stigma, prevent suffering and disease, and enhance the lives of women confronting gynecologic cancers worldwide.

Professor Binagwaho’s remarkable journey in the field of global health began when she returned to Rwanda in 1996, just two years after the devastating 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. With an unwavering commitment to making quality healthcare a fundamental human right, she has served the Rwandan health sector in various high-level government positions. These roles included Executive Secretary of Rwanda’s National AIDS Control Commission, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, and finally, Minister of Health for five years.

Left to Right: Prof. Agnes Binagwaho, UGHE Vice Chancellor; Her Excellency, the First Lady of the Republic of Rwanda, Mrs. Jeannette Kagame; Prof. Paul Farmer; and the former Rwandan Minister of Health, Dr. Diane Gashumba at the UGHE’s MGHD’19 Commencement on August 11, 2019. (UGHE)

As a pediatrician specializing in emergency pediatrics, neonatology, and HIV/AIDS treatment, Professor Binagwaho has made significant contributions to the healthcare landscape in Rwanda. During her tenure as Minister of Health, she spearheaded Rwanda’s national vaccination campaign, which resulted in over 90% of school-going girls being immunized against human papillomavirus (HPV). This achievement made Rwanda the first African nation to introduce the HPV vaccine, showcasing Professor Binagwaho’s dedication to preventing cervical cancer and improving women’s health.

In 2015, Professor Binagwaho co-founded the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda, an initiative of Partners In Health. As the retired Vice Chancellor of the university, she has been instrumental in shaping the institution’s mission to transform healthcare delivery worldwide by training global health professionals who are committed to providing equitable and quality health services for all.

Professor Binagwaho’s expertise and influence has extended beyond Rwanda’s borders. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. Her research focuses on implementation science, human rights to health, social justice, health services delivery, health systems strengthening, HIV/AIDS, non-communicable diseases, and pediatric care. With over 250 peer-reviewed articles to her name, Professor Binagwaho’s academic contributions have had a profound impact on global health.

Prof. Binagwaho

Recognized for her outstanding achievements, Professor Binagwaho is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, and a member of the World Academy of Sciences. She has been named among the 100 Most Influential African Women for both 2020 and 2021. Additionally, she serves on multiple editorial, advisory, and directors’ boards, including the Think20, The Rockefeller Foundation, the African Europe Foundation, and the African Union Commission on African COVID-19 Response.

The IGCS Global Humanitarian Award is a testament to Professor Binagwaho’s relentless pursuit of health equity and her profound impact on women’s health in Rwanda and beyond. Her work serves as an inspiration to global health professionals worldwide, emphasizing the importance of compassion, dedication, and the belief that quality healthcare is a fundamental human right.

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