Five Kenyan medical students have been awarded for coming up with the best thesis on how to prevent diabetes in the country.
The five were among 19 medical students picked from African and Asian universities.
Dr Elisha Kipkemoi Ngetich, Ken Munene, Samuel Mucheru and Sheila Wanjiru all from the University of Nairobi from and Ralph Obure (Aga Khan University), were given the award on World Diabetes Day in Cairo, Egypt.
The Merck Diabetes Award 2017 was launched by Merck Foundation in April 2016 with the aim of building a platform of diabetes experts across the globe.
The award covers more than 30 African and Asian universities.
The award attracted over 500 concept submission applications from universities in the two continents.
The winners have been given an opportunity to study for a one-year postgraduate diploma in diabetes at South Wales University in United Kingdom.
“What we are trying to do is to raise awareness of key health problems by training and taking part in diabetes and hypertension topics,” said Dr Rasha Kelej, executive officer of Merck Foundation.
He said the award was open to any medical student and those who were chosen did their best.
“We invited medical students from across African and Asian medical universities to submit concept papers on how to improve diabetes early detection and prevention in their countries and how to encourage their society, scientific community and relevant stakeholders to think and act on diabetes every day,” said Dr Kelej.
She said Merck Diabetes Award marks another milestone of the foundation’s commitment to working with governments, academia and relevant stakeholders in building healthcare capacity with a focus on non-communicable diseases in developing countries.
“These are diseases that present themselves very late when advanced and once they have the knowledge on how to detect early and prevent them, it will be a plus to our patients,” said Dr Kelej.
Dr Kipkemoi said the award will help him in dealing with patients, adding that he will reflect on what he wants to do as diabetes is a big problem in Kenya.
“This award is an eye opener and it is one of the greatest things that will help my patients because I am yet to learn more,” he said.
“I am very excited to have won the award since I am always so much into non-communicable diseases, particularly hypertension,” said Dr Wanjiru, another award winner.