R. Geigy Foundation-Award 2008,
Country: Cameroon, born: 1960
"There is a tendency in science to focus on the major health risks, such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids, only. We have to be aware that it is the neglected diseases that most people suffer from and which need increased attention."
The rapid urbanization of African cities places high demands on the public health system. In Nylon, an urban district on the fringe of the Cameroonian economic metropolis, Douala, Alphonse Um Boock has developed new strategies for improving the quality of health care. While working as a government health officer acting under the auspices of the Ministry of Health, health centres and a new district hospital were built. The hospital has the rare reputation of offering high medical standards at affordable prices. Alphonse Um Boock has not only concentrated on urban health care systems but has also committed himself to investigating and treated "neglected diseases" such as Buruli ulcer. As a member of the Stop-Buruli Consortium and WHO, he plays a leading role in researching the transmission of the disease, its underlying economic and social conditions and the development of new methods for diagnosis and treatment.