The Kochon Prize is awarded annually by the Stop TB Partnership to individuals and/or organizations that have made a significant contribution to combating TB. This year’s prize was dedicated to nurses (organizations, networks, individuals), who are in the vanguard of the fight to end TB.
The Kochon Prize 2020 award ceremony took place 18 November during the opening session of the Stop TB Partnership Board meeting. This year the winner of the Kochon Prize 2020 is Riaped from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. An honorable award was given to Hiwot Menbere from Ethiopia.
Riaped is an association of DR Congolese nurses (and a few physiotherapists and other paramedics) founded in 2009 to give an answer to the needs of children with POTT disease (TB of the spine) and other patients with TB (or leprosy) in desperate situations.
Sr Hiwot Menbere of Bishoftu General Hospital in Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia has substantially contributed to TB response and MDR-TB Patients care in Ethiopia. Sr Hiwot has applied the nursing standards to MDR-TB care and introduced a patient-friendly approach when stigma and fear towards patients with MDR-TB patients was very high.
“When deciding on this year’s theme of the Kochon Prize, the selection committee unanimously agreed that it should go to TB nurses - first, because the WHO announced 2020 the Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, and second, because from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, nurses were selflessly working on the frontline. We knew we would receive outstanding nominations, and we were right, so the choice was not easy. Eventually we agreed that Riaped, an association created and run by nurses using their own money, deserved the Prize, and Sr Hiwot Menbere should get an honorable award”, says Timur Abdullaev, member of the Kochon Prize Selection Committee as well as TBpeople Board member and Stop TB Partnership Community Representative.
The Kochon Prize, which is endowed by the Kochon Foundation, a non-profit foundation registered in the Republic of Korea, consists of a USD $65,000 award. The Kochon Prize was established in 2006 in honour of the late Chairman Chong-Kun Lee, founder of the Chong Kun Dang Pharmaceutical Corporation and Kochon Foundation in Korea, who was committed throughout his career to improving access to low-cost lifesaving antibiotics and anti-TB drugs. "Kochon" was a pen name that he used.