The 12th Harambee Prize for the Promotion and Equality of African Women, sponsored by Laboratorios René Furterer, was awarded this year to the scientist from Côte d’Ivoire, Duni Sawadogo, for her fight for the promotion of women in the university and against the trafficking of counterfeit medicines that cause so much damage to the most vulnerable people in Africa every year.
The event, which was held virtually due to the pandemic Friday, was attended by the president of the Harambee Foundation, Antonio Hernández Deus, who highlighted Sawadogo’s commitment to helping other women to pursue their scientific vocation. He also valued the strength with which she has broken “steel ceilings, rather than glass ceilings, which impede the progress of women in science,” reports atalayar news outlet.
Duni Sawadogo is a 59-year-old Ivorian woman, with a PhD in Pharmacy from the University of Abidjan, a PhD in Cell Biology and Hematology from the University of Navarra, and Professor of Biological Hematology at the Felix Houphouet Boigny University.
Born into a family of a Catholic mother and a Muslim father, both intellectuals, she had no difficulty in studying. Her speech at the event focused on the two main themes that guide her professional activity: women and science and the trafficking of medicines.
In this connection, she said that drug trafficking is such a lucrative business that, for example, it generates 20 times more money than heroin, causes numerous deaths a year worldwide, especially among the most vulnerable people. The WHO estimates that 300,000 children under the age of five die each year in Africa from complications caused by fake or substandard medicines.
She advocated greater collaboration between countries to fight this scourge, although she also believes it is necessary to strengthen the pharmaceutical industry in Africa, given that only 2% of the medicines used are manufactured in the continent, leaving the door open to medicines trafficking.
“I dream of an African continent where there is peace and prosperity, I dream that one day no African will have to cross the Mediterranean to go to Europe to look for work, I dream that one day I will be able to work in a laboratory like the ones I saw in the North (…) I don’t know if I will see it, but I hope it will become a reality for future generations. In the meantime, by helping the people and women around me, I am doing my bit. “I dedicate this award to all the women in the world and especially to those in Africa (…) Women give life to humanity and give humanity to life”, the prize winner was quoted by the outlet as saying.