The Sasakawa Health Prize

The Sasakawa Health Prize is awarded by the World Health Organization to individuals or nongovernmental organisations that have made outstanding contributions to improving the health of people worldwide. The prize money is intended to encourage the development of future activities.

It was established in 1984 on the initiative of Ryoichi Sasakawa, then Chairman of the Japan Shipbuilders’ Association, and in agreement with WHO Director-General Halfdan Mahler, to achieve WHO’s goal of ‘health for the world’s people’. Many people around the world are still forced to live difficult lives without the richness of life that comes with good health. Previous Laureates have contributed to improving people’s health through their work in primary health care, as well as motivating people through unique and innovative methods.

Winners are selected by the Sasakawa Health Prize Selection Committee, chaired by the WHO’s Director-General, and voted on by the Executive Board. The award ceremony takes place at the World Health Assembly at WHO headquarters in Switzerland, where the winners receive a cash prize and a commemorative trophy.

The Sasakawa Health Prize WHO official website
(A list of previous winners can be found on the WHO official website under Previous winners.)

The Sasakawa Health Prize trophy

Dr David Escobar, winner of the first Sasakawa Health Prize in 1985, for his contribution to improving oral hygiene and eye care for children in rural areas of Colombia.