London and Onwards to Nairobi: The Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize


Photos in Nairobi by Mr O.T. Belarga of Osaka University Graduate School of Human Sciences.

My flight for London was
delayed in its departure from New York, and so I was informed beforehand that I
would not be reaching Heathrow in time for the connecting flight to Nairobi.
Luckily, I had some leeway in terms of my schedule in Nairobi, and so there
were no major problems. I booked a night at the Sofitel Hotel close to the
Heathrow airport.

I had dinner in London with
one of my friends and his family, as well as a Japanese student who interned at
NAIIC and is currently studying political science at Oxford. We went to a
Japanese restaurant and had a lively talk (photo).

I headed to Nairobi the
next day, reaching my destination at around 9 p.m where I was greeted by an
official of the foreign ministry of Japan and then escorted to my hotel. The 8th
International Conference on the MCH Booklet
would be held over a period of 4
days starting the next day  . This is a conference that is set up and run jointly by Professor
Yasuhide Nakamura of Osaka University and HANDS.

As you might know, the
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) booklet is one of the successes of the ODA of
Japan in the Asian region. The next region being targeted was Africa and elsewhere
this was the theme of the conference.

I’ve heard that the Kenyan
Government and Dr. Miriam Were, who was a recipient of the 1st Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize 4 years ago
were doing their utmost to make the conference a success. Not only were there
some international organizations, but also representatives from various African
and Asian countries as well as Palestinian countries. All in all, there were
participants from around 30 countries.

The session started early
the next day at the Multimedia University of Kenya. In Kenya, the Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation (MPHS) and Ministry of Medical Services are separate entities, and I felt
that this was a very practical and logical approach.

I took part in the Opening
Plenary Panel with Dr. Were, the Minister of Public Health and Sanitation
Honorable Beth Mugo. The current Japanese Deputy Chief of Mission to Kenya H.E
Yoichiro Yamada used his own MCH booklet in his explanations, and this was very
persuasive. In this panel, I had a 25 minute talk titled “Japan Support
for Global Health and the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize”.

During the break, I was
able to mix with a lot of people from different nations, but I talked to many
young Japanese working Kenya and elsewhere overseas, the majority of whom were
women. I also met a nurse who was part of my team in Phayao, Thailand where I
was in charge of a project for prevention and control of AIDS. After that
project, she had gone to Africa where she was currently working. I thought it
wonderful that one could have reunions like this. The lively contribution of
young Japanese to the world gladdens me.

Tomorrow evening is the
session for the Hideyo Noguchi African Prize, 4th Anniversary. Since I am
acting as a chairperson, I participated, particularly as a run-up to the TICAD
5 conference.

It is a good opportunity to
meet new people and to understand Japan’s place in the
ever expanding world.