Dr. Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928) was a prominent Japanese bacteriologist. He was born and educated in Japan and spent most of his professional life in the United States as an associate member of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research (now the Rockefeller University). He eventually fell victim to yellow fever and died in Ghana while participating in the Yellow Fever Project conducted in Western Africa by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Pursuant to the official visit to Africa by the then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi in May 2006, the Japanese Government established the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize in July 2006 in memory of Dr. Hideyo Noguchi with a view to honoring individuals or organizations with outstanding achievements in the fields of medical research or medical services.

The spread of infectious diseases presents a common threat to all humankind. It also constitutes a serious obstacle and burden to development. Africa in particular suffers from this scourge most acutely. We can hardly claim that the health situation in Africa has improved over the 80 years since the days of Noguchi. The international community cannot afford to remain idle to this trans-border issue.

However, international assistance alone cannot overcome these problems. The onus rests ultimately on the hands of the African people. The task, however, is overwhelming. Now is the time when the spirit of Noguchi --- the composite of belief in science, unswerving perseverance, and selfless courage --- is most sought for. We believe that the dissemination of the spirit of Noguchi embodied in the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize will not only lead to further progress of medicine and improvement of health in Africa, but can also serve as an encouragement and motivation for those struggling on the African terrain.

We believe that the prize will serve as a beacon representing the ideals and legacy of Noguchi to be passed down to the young people of the 21st century who will be working to create a healthier and happier life for all mankind. We sincerely hope that you will understand the above aims and join in our endeavor. Your contribution, with special acknowledgments, will be presented in full to the laureates as part of the award money.

June 2007