Neglected tropical diseases

Italy recognizes Department’s contribution to overcoming neglected tropical diseases and expanding preventive chemotherapy to millions of people worldwide

15 November 2013 | Geneva
Dr Lorenzi Savioli (left) and Ambassador Maurizio Enrico Serra (right)

The Government of Italy has conferred an award on Dr Lorenzo Savioli, Director of the Department of Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, as a gesture of recognition for the Department’s contribution in expanding treatment to hundreds of millions of people worldwide.

In a ceremony held at the Italian Mission in Geneva on 13 November 2013, His Excellency Maurizio Enrico Serra conferred the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana on behalf of the President Giorgio Napolitano.

In his speech, Mr Serra acknowledged Dr Savioli’s decades spent fighting neglected tropical diseases, first in Zanzibar, and his “pioneering” use of preventive chemotherapy .This strategy is now the mainstay of the WHO-recommended global strategy to control and eliminate the four most widespread helminthiases, which afflict more than 1 billion people worldwide.

“Since 2005, the department Dr Savioli directs has established with the major pharmaceutical companies agreements leading to large-scale donation of medicines. Such initiatives are expanding access to treatment for the poorest populations in developing countries, and allow treating over 700 million people every year.”

For his merits towards Italy by virtue of the prestige acquired in his domain of activities, and in reason of his high professional and human profile, it is proposed to award Dr Lorenzo Savioli the title of Cavaliere dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana.”

In his comments after the ceremony, Dr Savioli – an Italian national – dedicated the award to all those who have been with him in his long career in fighting neglected tropical diseases. “I dedicate this award to the people of Zanzibar – where I started my work, and to all the colleagues at WHO headquarters, the regions and the country offices, who have accompanied me in this long ride through the world of public health – and it’s not over yet!”