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Ugandan awarded for fighting depression in HIV patients

Dr Etheldrera Nakimuli‐Mpungu

Ugandan biologist,  Dr Etheldreda Nakimuli‐Mpungu is named among the five winners of the coveted Elsevier Foundation Award in recognition of her work in fighting depression among persons living with HIV/Aids.

Nakimuli is listed alongside scholars from Indonesia, Nepal, Peru and Yemen in honor of their accomplishments in nutrition, psychiatry, biotechnology, women's health, bio-environmental sciences and epidemiology.

They are also celebrated for mentoring young women scientists who are pursuing careers in agriculture, biology and medicine in their respective countries.

Nakimuli is recognized for using psychotherapy as treatment of depression and alcoholism in Ugandans living with HIV. She is working with service providers to integrate depression screening with HIV treatment, as well as to include local communities in discussions of depression to help de-stigmatize the illness.

Depression is a serious problem for HIV patients throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, making it more likely that those patients will stop taking their antiretroviral medications as they get more depressed.

Her innovative model helps people coping with HIV/Aids to regain their dignity, self esteem and desire to fully participate and contribute to their communities.

The Elsevier Foundation awards are given in partnership with the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for the advancement of science in developing countries.

"The determination, commitment and enthusiasm of these five women is an inspiration to us all but especially to other women undertaking scientific research in developing countries. This award celebrates their excellent science and demonstrates that their hard work has had an impact both regionally and internationally, despite the difficult local conditions" OWSD president Fang Xin said.

The recognition helps invigorate the winners' careers by providing them with new visibility and extended professional networks, allowing them to engage with colleagues and the public while their careers are still at an early stage.

The winners also serve as a source of inspiration for other women in countries where more scientific expertise is a critical need, a statement of award issued by Elsevier Foundation reads.

The other 2016 winners are Sri Fatmawati, an Assistant professor at Laboratory of Natural Product and Chemical Synthesis, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember in Indonesia (East and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Region), Sushila Maharjan, a research director and and founding member, Research Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology in Nepal (Central and South Asia Region).

Also, Magaly Blas, an Associate Professor of Public Health, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru (Latin America and the Caribbean Region) as well as Ghanya Naji Mohammed Al-Naqeb - assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture, Sana’a University in Yemen (Arab world).

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