Two African Doctors, both Women, Recognized for their Extraordinary Contributions
We've recently recognized two U.S. women researchers and a physician for their extraordinary contributions to saving lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, as we gain ground on COVID-19 through preventative vaccination here in the United States, the battle continues to be waged in other countries. It therefore gives us great pleasure to honor two African women physicians, whose work is ongoing.
The World Health Organization presented Dr. Jemimah Kariuki of Kenya with the Director-General's Award for Global Health 2021. Dr. Kariuki, a resident in obstetrics and gynaecology at Kenyatta National Hospital at the University of Nairobi, is the founder of the Peace Club, started in response to post-election violence in 2007, and the Public Health Club, which is dedicated to the prevention and awareness of cervical cancer.
During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr. Kariuki noticed a decline in maternal patients but an increase in complications, especially during the hours of curfew, and realized that access to health care was being delayed due to limited transportation options. She utilized Twitter to ask for support from government organizations and private companies to transport expectant parents to the hospital, becoming the founder of Wheels for Life, a free ambulance service.
We also recognize the extraordinary contribution of Dr. Jackie Stone of Zimbabwe to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Stone is one of many doctors around the world who have been searching for a repurposed medicine that they were already familiar with that could safely be given to their COVID-19 patients, in hospital or at home, preferably in pill form. The ideal candidate would both interfere with viral replication and treat COVID-19 symptoms. In the summer of 2020 (after hydroxychloroquine and other pharmaceuticals had largely failed to prove themselves), leading doctors began to focus on a different drug: ivermectin. In this video, Dr. Stone describes what happened.
While treatment with ivermectin remains "unproven" in the eyes of many health authorities, the movement is clearly gaining steam among clinicians. In the United States, the NIH has belatedly begun it's own ivermectin clinical trial, known as ACTIV-6. Meanwhile, ivermectin's advocates believe the case has already been made, are feeling relieved and celebratory at having this important drug in their repertoires, and are calling upon health authorities to accept it as constituting the new "standard of care." They have posted two online conferences, <here> and <here>, and a celebratory video <here>.
Whatever transpires, Dr. Jackie Stone of Zimbabwe has proven herself a leader in COVID-19 care using ivermectin, and has established herself as one of the world's most experienced experts on the topic.