Exceptional Service Award 2017

The Exceptional Service Award is a part of our Women in Focus awards where we are celebrating and acknowledging the vital role of women in defeating neglected tropical diseases.

About the category

The Exceptional Service Award category is for women working for NGOs or community-based organisations who have made a significant contribution towards NTD control and elimination.

Winner of the Exceptional Service Award

Dhekra Annuzaili (49 years old, Sanaa, Yemen)
Since graduating from medical school in 1991, in Yemen, Dr. Dhekra Annuzaili has shown incredible commitment. Dr Dhekra moved to the field of NTDs, in 2009, specialising in Schistosomiasis Control, also known as snail fever. As a woman working in a country with one of the lowest rankings of gender equality in the world, Dhekra has overcome extreme personal obstacles and yet her commitment to Neglected Tropical Disease control and in serving Yemen never wavered. With her support, Yemen’s National Schistosomiasis Control Program has made great strides towards controlling schistosomiasis and intestinal worms. 

The finalists for the Exceptional Service Award

Luz Stella Losada (50s, Bolivia)
With a Master’s Degree in Professional Health Education, Luz has dedicated her career to helping the most vulnerable members of society affected by Chagas disease, STH and rabies. She works around the clock, viewing her "job" as a way of life for her and her entire family. Luz has trained over 1,200 health workers to develop knowledge and skills in NTD diagnosis and management. It is not just a job, it is her life force and part of her soul.

Julie Akane (56 years old, Cameroon)
Julie is one of the major figures leading Cameroon towards the elimination of lymphatic filariasis and trachoma by 2020. With a Higher Nurse Degree in Public Health, she has contributed to many training manuals and co-authored major papers on NTD mapping in the country. Julie is also a consultant for WHO in AFRO region for training, assessment and sustainability of community directed treatment projects.

Uche Amazigo (Nigeria)
Uche Amazigo has devoted most of her academic, public and international career to the control of neglected tropical diseases. She is internationally recognized as a leading figure in the introduction, application and scaling up of the innovative Community-Directed Treatment mechanism in the control of NTDs. This model made it possible for community members to play a determining role in distributing medicines to affected populations to the point where elimination of river blindness can be envisaged by 2025.


The Women in Focus awards celebrates the role of women in defeating NTDs. The awards are organised by Uniting to Combat NTDs and the Neglected Tropical Disease NGDO Network.