Medic receives award for her fight against neglected diseases


Dr Monique Wasunna was awarded the second-highest award in France. [Courtesy/DNDi]

The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Institute (DNDi) Africa Regional Director Dr Monique Wasunna, has been awarded the second-highest award in France, the rank of Officer of the prestigious French National Order of Merit.

Dr Wasunna is the only recipient of the award in the East Africa region, in the 2020 cohort, officiated at the French Embassy, in Nairobi.

Ranked second after the Legion of Honour (Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur), the French National Order of Merit is a presidential award that recognises distinguished services or acts of devotion, bravery, generosity, and commitment to the service of others, in the military or in the public and private sectors.

Dr Wasunna was recognised following her exemplary contributions in research and development in Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), advocating for delivering better treatments for neglected patients in Africa.

“I am humbled and grateful to be receiving this award. I have devoted my professional life to finding better treatments for neglected diseases,” said Wasunna while receiving the award.

She added; “Today, a new commitment has been birthed in me. I have a reason for hope. I dedicate this award to the children and patients suffering from leishmaniasis.”

Dr Wasunna has been working with neglected patients for over 30 years.

Dr Monique Wasunna. [Courtesy/DNDi]

She has been a principal investigator in clinical trials to find better treatment options for neglected patients.

She has spearheaded the building and strengthening of regional partnerships in research and development for NTDs in Eastern Africa to expand clinical trial capacities in the region.

Her research interests primarily focus on visceral leishmaniasis, mycetoma, malaria, and HIV.

The Ambassador of France to Kenya and to Somalia Mrs Aline Kuster-Menager applauded Wasunna for her dedication to creating solutions in the medical field.

“France would like to honor Dr Wasunna for her dedication to improving and protecting human lives affected by NTDs. We need more men and women of goodwill like her with deep knowledge and understanding of medical science," said the ambassador while giving the award to Dr Wasunna.

At the DNDi Africa office, she is celebrated for her impact on research and development in Africa's neglected diseases.

Wasunna has been at forefront of leading networking efforts with scientists working in NTDs through research and development platforms where young scientists have benefited from training.

Share this story
Former guard-turned medic listed for global award
Jane Kubai, 27, was listed among the world’s Heroines of Health, 2021 for her efforts in tackling fears about Covid-19 vaccines.
Diabetes: Insulin now an essential drug
Listing NCDs is a relief to Kenyans like 65-year-old Kahuho Mathai from Nyeri County, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.