Recognizing Excellence around Champions of Health (REACH) has opened nominations to recognize frontline health workers and innovators who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and commitment to eliminate global diseases.

The Awards which was established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, will be presented at the Reaching the Last Mile Forum in Abu Dhabi in November.

In a press release copied to ghanabusinessnews.com, the organisers say the REACH Awards aim to recognize stories of unsung achievement in global health and disease elimination – and raise awareness of the role of the frontline health worker and game-changing innovator within the larger global health community.

This is crucial because more than one billion people around the world, especially in remote areas, lack access to healthcare due to weak health systems, and limited access to facilities and trained health workers, according to the release.

His Excellency Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Under-Secretary of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi lauded frontline health workers who have supported the vulnerable in societies .

“In many communities around the world, especially the most vulnerable and poor, frontline health workers are the only source of health care. Through their efforts, millions of lives are saved and enhanced, strengthening families and societies. With gratitude for the efforts of these committed workers, as well as global health innovators and champions, we announce that nominations are now open for the 2019 REACH Awards,” he said.

According to stakeholders,  Frontline health care workers are usually overlooked, even though they play critical roles in reaching the most remote communities, often the last stronghold for preventing infectious diseases.

“But given the on-the-ground nature of their work, these skilled and committed individuals are often overlooked,” the release said.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization also expressed gratitude to professionals who work tirelessly to save lives.

He said, “often making heroic sacrifices, frontline health workers are leading the charge to eliminate the world’s most deadly and debilitating diseases, together with scientists, advocates and other innovators, these inspiring individuals are defending everyone’s right to attain the highest standard of health.”

According to the release, the 2019 REACH Awards will be judged by a jury of prominent leaders from across global health disciplines. The panel will include, among others: Professor Baron Peter Piot, Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Her Excellency Ms. Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary-General of La Francophonie; Rt. Hon. Professor Lord Kakkar PC, Professor of Surgery University College London and Director Thrombosis Research Institute London, UK; Dr Christopher Elias, President of the Global Development Division at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, Executive Chair-Elect of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership; Ms. Robyn Calder, Executive Director of the ELMA Philanthropies Services, and Mr. Ray Chambers, Ambassador to the World Health Organization for Global Strategy.

The call for nominations for the Awards was launched at the World Health Assembly in Geneva.

By Asabea Akonor