On behalf of Merck & Co., Inc.* and the Mectizan Donation Program, we are delighted to announce that Dr. Laurent Yaméogo was selected as the recipient of the 2015 Merck Mectizan Award in recognition of his contributions to the elimination of onchocerciasis (river blindness). He was nominated in view of his distinguished career covering several decades, with highlights of his many notable contributions including:
- His academic background gave he a unique foundation that aligned perfectly with the challenge of onchocerciasis control and elimination. Starting at the University of Ouagadougou, and then in the Institute of Arlon in Belgium, and the University Claude Bernard of Lyon, his studies included relevant work in rural development, environmental sciences, analysis and modelling of biological systems, biology, ecology, entomology, and water-borne disease management.
- He then worked with the Onchocerciasis Control Program (OCP), the West African regional effort to control the disease in 11 countries. His training and expertise soon led to leadership positions within the organization where his commitment to his work is reflected in ongoing consultations sought for current vector control activities.
- While the efforts of the OCP were initially focused on vector control to fight onchocerciasis, he became a champion of mass drug administration as an effective and efficient means to reach more people at risk of infection.
- With the creation of the African Program for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC) in 1995, he again had a leadership role and helped to enable countries to develop sustainable mechanisms to manage their onchocerciasis control and elimination efforts. In this role, his dedication to serving poor and often remote communities led to his decoration by the Benin government in 2013 for his services to improve the health of the people of Africa.
- As a continuing testament to his personal commitment to defeating onchocerciasis, following his retirement in 2014 he continued as a leader in onchocerciasis elimination efforts in Burkina Faso.
We thank Dr. Yaméogo for his professional and personal commitment to improving the health of the millions of those affected by, and at risk of, onchocerciasis.
*Merck & Co., Inc. is known as MSD outside Canada and the United States.