The second joint essay competition, sponsored by The Lancet and The Global Forum for Health Research and themed "Equitable access: research challenges for health in developing countries", has announced its winners.
From a field of 289 entries, from 64 nationalities residing in 60 different countries, five entries have been chosen after a long and difficult judging process from a shortlist of 40. They are Seye Abimbola (Nigeria); Denise Nacif Pimenta (Brazil); Laura Sikstrom (Canada); Lee Yung Wong (Malaysia); and Zhang Lingling (China).
Abimbola's essay, "Of patents and patients," focuses on the inequitable access to life-saving drugs and the patent-system that makes such drugs so expensive, while Pimenta's "Can the 'North' learn from developing countries: question or affirmation" is about how all countries can learn lessons from one another regarding information flow in the battle against chronic and infectious diseases.
Sikstrom's "For the future, for tomorrow: evidence-based research in food-security interventions" addresses the difficult issues surrounding food security in the developing world and the links with child mortality and HIV disease progression. Wong's "The face of equitable access: going beyond health to life for all" tells of the author's inspiring meeting with a Burmese graduate who had devoted his life to helping HIV victims in his country. Finally, Lingling's "Where have all the barefoot doctors gone in pursuing a more equitable new health-care system in China" discusses the famous barefoot doctors and inequality in healthcare across China.
Susan Jupp, Head of External Relations, Global Forum for Health Research, and Sarah Ramsay, Executive Editor, The Lancet, say: "The sheer breadth of topics covered, together with the innovative ways this year's entrants tackled the theme made the judging process even more difficult than last year. We were especially impressed with the entrants who used both scholarship and personal experience to convey their opinions to inform and persuade their intended readers."