Saturday, October 14, 2023 in Berlin (Germany), Professor Rose Gana Fomban Leke, one of the most famous African female Scientist specialized in infectious diseases, will be granted the Virchow Prize for Global Health. She has been announced as the 2023 laureate of that Major International Distinction by the Virchow Foundation on September 11, 2023 in Berlin. According to the Virchow Prize Committee, the award is thanks to her distinctive and exceptional lifetime achievements, comprising outstanding contributions to global health, pioneering infectious disease research towards a malaria-free world and relentless dedication in advancing gender equality.
Professor Rose Leke will receive the Virchow Prize on Saturday, October 14, 2023, at 16:00 pm (GMT), at the Rotes Rathaus (Berlin City Hall), a day before the opening of the World Health Summit. The livestreamed ceremony will take place under the patronage of the President of the German Parliament Berlin, Bärbel Bas.
Pr. Rose Leke, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Cameroonian Institute of Medical Research and Medicinal Plants Studies (IMPM), is a malariologist and Emeritus Professor of Immunology and Parasitology at the University of Yaounde I. She has dedicated her life as a researcher to eradicating malaria, addressing health inequities and structural disparities, and combating communicable diseases. This has made her an internationally celebrated advocate for global health.
The Virchow Prize Committee states that Pr. Leke’s innovative research and courageous leadership have led to transformative initiatives on the African continent and beyond in combating widespread diseases, advancing scientific approaches and addressing challenging structural concerns as well as important cultural contexts.
Throughout her career, Pr. Rose Leke has conducted ground-breaking research which encompasses broad areas of immunology, parasitology and global health, with a particular focus on malaria, in addition to her significant contributions to polio eradication across the African continent. Her work has shed light on the complex interactions between pathogens, hosts and environmental factors, providing critical insights that have broadened the understanding of a holistic approach including effective prevention and the most modern treatment strategies towards disease eradication.
“The desire to provide solutions to health problems within my community, and the need to provide sustainable solutions by training younger women scientists.”
Pr. Leke’s fight against the deadliest killer disease on the African continent: malaria for decades has made her become a role model for adolescent girls and women in Cameroon, Africa and all over the world. In 2011, she was one of the six women who received the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Scientific Award for Women, which recognizes female excellence in scientific research. She also received the 2012 award for Excellence in Science from the Cameroon Professional Society. In 2014, she got Doctor Honoris Causa (DSc) from University of Ghana. In 2015 Leke was elected an honorary international fellow of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and established the Higher Institute for Growth in Health Research for Women Consortium to mentor women scientists in Cameroon. During the 2018 World Health Assembly, Geneva, she was honoured as a Heroine of Health by Women in Global Health and General Electric Healthcare, and in 2019 she was ceremonially named Queen Mother of the Cameroon Medical Community, by the Cameroon Medical Council. She is on the World Health Organization Malaria Policy Advisory Committee and the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of Polio Eradication.