Professor Margaret Gyapong, Director of the Institute of Health Research, University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), has received the ‘Most Outstanding Female Scientist 2020 Prize’ from the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trial Partnership (EDCTP).
She received this award for her involvement in research and innovation activities in sub-Saharan Africa and having made significant scientific contributions and built measurable impactful research capacity through training and mentorship for the future generation of researchers and scientists in Africa.
Other prizes for grasp were the Science Leadership Prize, Outstanding Research Team and Dr Pascoal Mocumbi Prize.
The Prizes come with a trophy and cash ranging from 10,000 Euros to 50,000 Euros, with many entries made for the positions, according to the EDCTP Secretariat.
The Outstanding Female Scientist prize identified the recipient as a leader in research bringing together the experiences of research institutions in Africa, Asia and Europe.
Prof Gyapong who is also a former Director of the Dodowa Health Research Centre, in a response to the Ghana News Agency said “I am humbled to have received this prestigious award from the EDCTP, which over the years has been supporting Individuals and Consortia working on clinical and vaccine trials.
“In expanding its mandate through the EDCTP 2 program of work to include Health systems, Neglected Tropical Diseases and Implementation Research, Social Scientists like me have been given an opportunity to shine”.
“I remember that whenever I read about the EDCTP Forum, and saw all the women and research teams receiving their awards, I used to dream and hope that one day, I’ll be like them.”
She said that female scientists cannot say because they were women and have other family and social responsibilities, they will not put in the effort to strive for excellence.
Prof Gyapong emphasized that hard work with excellence always pay-off.
With a background in Medical Anthropology and Epidemiology and research interests in Malaria, Neglected Tropical Diseases and Implementation Research, Prof Gyapong has risen through the ranks of the research ladder to become a seasoned and internationally renowned scientist and a true ambassador to achieving equity in research for health.
She is currently working on Neglected Tropical Diseases, specifically Female Genital Schistosomiasis which presents as a regular gynaecological problem affecting women endearing it to being mis-diagnosed and mis-treated as a Sexually transmitted Infection.
Adolescent Health and using routine health data to engage community members in health care delivery.
A qualitative evaluation to understand the implementation bottlenecks in the rollout of the new malaria vaccine, which was introduced recently in Ghana, Malawi and Kenya and lastly an EDCTP grant targeted at building Implementation Research capacity in the MOH, GHS and FDA to enable them identify implementation bottlenecks in the delivery of new health technologies such as the new malaria and COVID-19 vaccines.
In 2017, she was one of 12 women across the world to receive the first Heroines of Health Award for her work in drawing attention to the needs of women suffering from the consequences of Neglected Tropical Disease.
On International Women’s Day in March 2021, she was celebrated by WHO/TDR as one of 15 women who champion mentorship and collaboration among scientists tackling infectious diseases in low- and middle-income countries.
In May of the same year, she was ranked by the world Scientist and University Ranking 2021-AD Scientific Index 2021 as number four in the University of Health and Allied Sciences and number 13 in Ghana.
She owes a debt of gratitude to the Almighty God for his Grace, which has brought her thus far, her team at the Institute of Health Research, UHAS, her colleagues who nominated her for the award, her friends and family especially her husband Prof. John Owusu Gyapong and their three daughters Akosua, Afia and Yaa for their sacrifice of love.
She plans on setting up a fund with her award for needy but brilliant female students in memory of her mother Madam Dora Gertrude Quaye and a prize for the most outstanding female scientist at UHAS.