African Innovation 2017 Special Prize Laureate Dr. Dougbeh Christopher Nyan has dedicated his award as a gift to the people of Liberia and Africa in commemoration of Liberia’s 170th Independence Anniversary on July 26, 2017.
Dr. Nyan made the dedication in a statement to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. “I am honored to dedicate my AIP 2017 Award as a gift to the people of Liberia, Africa and global humanity as we celebrate the 170th Independence Anniversary of this nation,” said Dr. Nyan.
The Liberian scientist, who was also the 2016 Liberia National Independence Day Orator, recently won the AIP Special Prize for Social Impact for his invention of a new technology to rapidly detect and identify many infections using one test.
The test developed by Dr. Nyan and his team is simple, affordable, and easy to use. The Nyan-Test is of high quality and can be easily used in rural communities in Africa and other countries in the world for diagnosing infections such as HIV, hepatitis, Ebola, yellow fever, malaria, Dengue and many others.
Last year on July 26, 2016, Dr. Nyan served as National Orator of Liberia’s 169th Independence Anniversary. During his 2016 oration, the scientist emphasized the need for government to strongly support science, medicine and technology as a bedrock of Liberia’s progress to meet the technological challenges of the 21st century.
He then made his invention available to the Liberian government and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as his contribution to the fight against infectious diseases in Africa and the whole world.
It may be recalled that Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, and other West African countries were hit with the Ebola virus epidemic in 2014 that killed over 10,000 people. During the Ebola outbreak, Dr. Nyan testified before the United States Congress in September 2014 as head of the Diaspora Ebola Task Force at which time he advocated for a coordinated global support for the Ebola affected countries and persuaded the US government to establish an African Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ACDC) on the continent. The African-CDC was established and is presently located in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
This year’s African Innovation Prize (IPA) is described as the most competitive with more than 2,500 innovators applying from over 50 African countries. For the first time IPA saw applications from Liberia and Uganda. Ten finalists were selected to compete for three prizes at a grand event hosted in Accra, Ghana. The award was established in 2011 by the African Innovation Foundation (AIF) which was founded by a passionate philanthropist, Jean-Claude Bastos De Morais, who strongly believes in African ingenuity.
“It takes visionaries like Jean-Claude to recognize other visionaries and potential,” said Dr. Nyan who is Chief Scientific Officer of his biotech start-up, Shufflex Biomed. He added that “Africa has too many talents on the continent and in the Diaspora that need to be harnessed and supported. We as Africans have a better understanding of our own problems and are coming up with practical solutions. I hope that other African governments will follow the example of President Akufo-Addo of Ghana to increase their national budgets that will support programs in science, medicine, and technology.”
The judges awarded Dr. Nyan the African Innovation Special Prize for Social Impact with a cash prize of $25,000. Other African innovators who won prizes were Philippa Makobore of Uganda, who took second place with $25,000 for her invention of an Electronically Controlled Gravity Feed Infusion Set which accurately delivers medications in patients through infusion.
Dr. Aly El-Shafei of Egypt won the grand prize, taking home $100,000 for his innovation, the Smart Electro-Mechanical Actuator Journal Integrated Bearing, which improves turbine efficiency and can reduce the cost of producing electrical energy in Africa.