Paris, Nov 6 (Prensa Latina) Cuba and UNESCO today presented the Carlos J. Finlay Award in Microbiology to two scientists, Shahida Hasnain (Pakistan) and Samir Saha (Bangladesh), in the framework of the 39th General Conference of that organization of Nations United.
The event was led by the Minister of Science, Technology and Environment of Cuba, Elba Rosa Pérez, who highlighted the development achieved by the Caribbean nation in the field of research, knowledge and innovation, under the strategic guidance of the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro.
In the specific area of Microbiology and Biotechnology, she stressed that the main centers of study in the field are grouped into a higher organization of business management, with the aim of completing the innovation cycle from research to commercialization.
According to the Minister, ‘the most amazing thing is that these results have been achieved amidst the severe financial limitations and restrictions on access to markets caused by the unjust economic, commercial and financial blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba.’
On the other hand, the Minister also referred to the broad coincidence of shared values between the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Cuba, which this year celebrates the 70th anniversary of the establishment of relations.
During the event also intervened the Deputy Director General of UNESCO, Getachew Aegis, who highlighted the importance of research in the field of microbiology to contribute to the health and well-being of human beings.
The two winners of the prize explained to a wide audience the main discoveries and contributions made throughout their careers, which earned them the election in a group of several dozen candidates.
Shahida Hasnain is the founder and director of the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at the Pakistani University of Penjab, which is considered a center of excellence.
Samir Saha directs the microbiology department of the Shishu pediatric hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and is the executive director of the foundation for health and childhood research in that nation.
The expert played a key role in the introduction in Bangladesh of vaccines against two bacteria responsible for meningitis, which had a direct impact on the health of children.
In his speech, Saha expressed his gratitude to UNESCO, to Cuba and in particular to Carlos J. Finlay, for the relevant knowledge inherited in the field of Microbiology with extensive work developed in the 19th century.
This award was instituted by UNESCO in 1977 on the initiative of the government of Cuba and is delivered to scientists with research and work that means an important contribution to microbiology.