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Press Release

Handwashing and stroke prevention scoop prizes in first ever BMJ Group Awards

BMJ Group
Posted on: 02 Apr 09

A global campaign to promote handwashing, pioneering work in stroke prevention, and improving care for kidney dialysis patients, scooped three of the top prizes at the first ever BMJ Group Awards ceremony last night.

The winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award - voted for by BMJ readers and presented by Stella Dutton, CEO of BMJ Group - went to Professor Judith Longstaff Mackay for her contribution to the fight against tobacco across the world.

The BMJ Group Awards, held in association with The Health Foundation, recognise and celebrate excellence in healthcare across the globe. The categories reflect the values of the Group and include awards for corporate global responsibility, clinical research, healthcare communication and medical education.

The ceremony, held in London last night, was presented by broadcaster and comedienne Sandi Toksvig and was attended by some of the most influential men and women in healthcare from around the world.

Dr Val Curtis PhD, Director of the Hygiene Centre at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine won the award for Health Communicator of the Year for getting a simple message out across the world – hand washing can save your life.

Dr Curtis persuaded large multinational corporations such as Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive and Unilever to join an initiative to promote handwashing with soap to reduce diarrhoea in developing countries, which kills in the order of two million children a year. Her work led to the first ever Global Handwashing Day in October last year, and 20 countries now have national hand washing programmes.

Peter Rothwell, Professor of Clinical Neurology at the University of Oxford won the award for Outstanding Achievement in Evidence Based Health Care for his pioneering work on stroke prevention.

The award recognises his team’s work on TIA (mini stroke) and minor stroke, which has established the need for acute preventive treatment and demonstrated that such treatment reduces the early risk of major stroke by 80%.

The Western Renal Service, part of the Western Health and Social Care Trust in Londonderry won the award for Best Quality Improvement for improving standards of care for patients undergoing renal dialysis in rural Northern Ireland. It succeeded exceptionally well with standards in two renal units changing from the worst to the best performing 10% of units in the UK.

Other awards went to the Medical Fair and Ethical Trade Group (MFETG) for their work to promote and facilitate fair and ethical trade in the production and supply of healthcare products globally, and to Miss Stella Vig, Consultant Vascular and General Surgeon at the Mayday Healthcare NHS Trust for leading the development of a new care model to reduce amputation rates and improve independence for patients with diabetes complications.

Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Professor Judith Longstaff Mackay, was praised for her tireless and courageous campaigning on behalf of patients and public health care. In 1984, she started campaigning against the tobacco industry in Asia and was labelled “one of the three most dangerous people in the world” by the industry five years later. She is a consultant to the World Health Organisation and was instrumental in developing the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which places governments under international obligation to implement tobacco control policies. More than 162 countries are now signed up. Currently she works for the World Lung Foundation component of the Bloomberg Initiative to reduce tobacco use in low and middle income countries.

Speaking after the ceremony, Professor Mackay said: “Public health has always been the poor relation to curative medicine when it comes to funding and recognition. This award is therefore a great acknowledgment of the importance of public health in general, and tobacco control in particular. I think my biggest contribution has been motivating and supporting others, moving tobacco control in low income countries from the very lonely job of a quarter of a century ago to one today involving hundreds of people. I have been overwhelmed by the support from so many organisations and colleagues internationally and especially from Asia and Hong Kong.”

Professor Martin Marshall, Medical Director of the Health Foundation said: “The Health Foundation is proud to sponsor the BMJ Group Awards. The awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the expertise and commitment of those who work so hard in the Health Service to deliver high quality care for patients.”


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Editor's Details

Zoe Davies
01522 833640

Last updated on: 27/08/2010

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