13 January 2020
Professor Tumani Corrah, Emeritus Director of the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has been appointed honorary Knight Commander of the the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in recognition of his services to medical research in sub-Saharan Africa.
The award was presented by Her Excellency Sharon Wardle, British High Commissioner, on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen, on Thursday 9th January 2020, in a ceremony held at the British High Commissioner’s residence in Bakau, The Gambia. As ‘fountain of honour’ in the UK, The Queen has the sole right of conferring titles of honour on deserving people from all walks of life, in public recognition of their merit, service or bravery. This includes honorary awards to non-British nationals who through their ties to the UK have made an outstanding contribution.
Professor Corrah KBE has had a profound long-term impact on the promotion of health in the poorest nations in Africa, by influencing governments to support health research and adopt its findings into healthcare; by bringing culturally divided Research communities together; and by leading charitable efforts in the field.
On receiving his award, Professor Corrah said, “I want to thank Her Majesty, through the High Commissioner, for recognizing the efforts I have put in place to promote excellent science research in Africa, and to improve and save lives. I am particularly touched by this kind gesture and I’m reminded by the sentiments of Martin Luther King Jr.: one thing you must always think about every day is what can I do for others. Africa’s young scientists continue to inspire me”.
As the UK Medical Research Council’s Director of African Research, Professor Tumani Corrah KBE has played a key role in promoting collaborations between indigenous medical research communities across Africa, with successful joint applications for funding.
Furthermore, he has driven forward the influential Medical Research Council African Research Leaders scheme aimed at securing the very best early career African medical scientists in low and middle-income countries in the region. These professional contributions will have a significant long-term impact on the promotion of human health in such countries.
Executive Chair of the UK’s Medical Research Council, Fiona Watt, remarked, “It has been my privilege to get to know Tumani Corrah. His achievements in the field of infectious disease research are outstanding and his leadership of Research Development in Africa is remarkable. I would like to offer Tumani my heartiest congratulations on being appointed Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire. This is well deserved recognition of his devotion to medical research”.
Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, Director of the MRCG at LSHTM, said “The honor given to Prof Corrah for his leadership and services to medical research in sub-Saharan Africa reflects also the long-term commitment of the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM to rigorous and relevant research and to the capacity building of young African scientists. This is a remarkable personal achievement that is also an example and encouragement for all of us currently working at the Unit. I would also like to acknowledge the remarkable work Prof Corrah has been and is doing in developing research capacity in Africa.”
Over and above his countless professional achievements throughout his career, and as an unprompted and personally altruistic initiative, Professor Tumani Corrah KBE has founded and secured diverse philanthropic support for the African Research Excellence Foundation charity – a new organisation that is already providing scholarships for early career African medical scientists, with great long-term promise.