The Union congratulates President Jorge Sampaio, first recipient of the UN's Nelson Mandela Prize

The Union congratulates President Jorge Sampaio, first recipient of the UN's Nelson Mandela Prize

The Union is pleased to congratulate former Portuguese President Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio, the recipient of a new United Nations award for services to humanity, for his outstanding work in helping to fight tuberculosis.

Dr Sampaio is the first-ever recipient of the United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize.

In 2006 he was appointed by then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as Special Envoy to Stop TB and worked to ensure faster access to treatment for those most vulnerable to the disease.

José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union, praised Dr Sampaio's dedication to helping rid the world of TB.

"Dr Sampaio's work in raising the profile of tuberculosis helped prioritise treatment for those most at need. He personally reached out to world leaders, including those in high-TB burden countries, advocating for funding and treatment.  

"He has helped to improve and save the lives of countless people who suffer from TB and contributed to propelling the disease onto the international development agenda. We congratulate him on receiving this prestigious award."

Dr Sampaio led a six-year programme to raise the profile of TB and set targets for turning around the epidemic under ambitious Millennium Development Goals.

Among his achievements, Dr Sampaio helped highlight the link between TB and HIV at a Global Leaders Forum in 2008, which led to a commitment from the UN and other world leaders to fight HIV-associated tuberculosis. This eventually saw TB-HIV co-infection included on the agenda of the 2011 United Nations General Assembly on AIDS.

This is the first Nelson Mandela Prize to be awarded. It was established in 2014 by the UN General Assembly to recognise outstanding services to humanity, while honouring the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela. It will be awarded once every five years to a male and female laureate.

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