Dr. Mathu Santosham, has been awarded the Prince Mahidol Award 2017 in the field of Public Health, which recognizes “outstanding contribution in the field of public health for the sake of the well-being of the peoples.”
Dr. Santosham, who serves as Director Emeritus of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health and special advisor in the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is being recognized for his landmark scientific contribution to the control of Haemophilus Influenzae Type b (Hib) and pneumococcal disease around the world.
The Prince Mahidol Award was established in 1992 to honor the late Prince Mahidol of Songka, the Royal Father of His Majesty the King of Thailand. Prince Mahidol modernized medical services and education in Thailand and is known to the country as the “Father of Modern Medicine and Public Health.” Dr. Santosham will receive the award with Dr. Porter Warren Anderson Jr., Dr. Rachel Schneerson, and Dr. John B. Robbins.
Dr. Santosham is a pioneer in the Hib scientific field over a thirty-year campaign to understand the global burden and epidemiology in various populations. He worked on pivotal efficacy studies in high-risk populations enabling the licensure of conjugate vaccines. Over the past decade, Dr. Santosham has served as a leader in global, regional and country-focused post-licensure work, ensuring that children around the world, especially those most in need, had access to these life-saving vaccines.
As of 2017, 190 countries (98 percent of all) countries in the world now include Hib conjugate vaccine and 140 (72 percent) countries include pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in their routine infant immunization programs. In 1990, less than 30 years ago, no country was using these vaccines. It is estimated that over three million deaths will have been averted from 2000 through 2020, and millions more in the decades to follow, because of Hib conjugate and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines.
Supporting letters from leading experts extolled Dr. Santosham’s “compassion, humility, integrity, and humanitarianism.”