Greetings from Dr. Kiyoshi KUROKAWA, chairperson of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize Committee

February 2012

Welcome to the website of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize. As chairperson of the committee, I would like to thank you for taking the time to visit our page. Our community endeavors to honor the will and memory of Hideyo Noguchi and, as a result, our prize applauds those who demonstrate an outstanding compassion for humanity through their efforts in the medical sciences, which Noguchi himself would commend.

Regardless of whether your interest here is in the prize, in the life of Noguchi, or in your simple determination to combat disease in Africa, I invite you now to explore our website and learn more about our prize and our community.

The life of Dr. Hideyo Noguchi

Born in Fukushima, Japan, in 1876, Noguchi suffered a burn on his left hand by falling into the fireplace at his family’s home when he was only one. It was believed that his left hand would never function again; however, at the age of 15, he underwent surgery and mobility was restored to his hand. Noguchi was so impressed by the results of the operation, and the dedication of his surgeon, that he decided to become a doctor himself and devote his life to helping others in need. Due to the affectionate support of his Mother, Shika Noguchi, and his ceaseless efforts, he was able to achieve his goal of becoming a doctor. 

Undeterred by the constraints of coming from a deprived background and having a still partially handicapped hand, he quickly became a prominent and respected figure. Moving to the United States at the age of 24 to pursue a career in research, he came to play an active role even outside of Japan, with his invaluable contributions to the study of snake venoms, smallpox, yellow-fever vaccines and the laboratory diagnosis of trachoma. One of his most important achievements during this period was his successful cultivation of pure syphilis spirochaeta in 1911.

He died at the young age of 51 in Accra, Ghana, where he contracted yellow fever whilst he was testing his hypothesis of the disease being caused by spirochaete bacteria. His incorrect hypothesis may have ultimately led him to sacrifice his life for his work, but his astounding medical achievements and the legacy of the dedication to his work and humanity will never fade. He will continue to remain a great influence and inspiration for all the generations that follow him.

-The background of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize-
Relationship between Japan and Africa

The history of Japanese aid diplomacy toward Africa began with Japan joining the Colombo Plan in 1954 and started providing Africa with loans. The 1980s saw a major shift in Japanese aid strategy with the cancellation of all debts from past loans, and since then the government of Japan has been assisting African countries through the efforts of the Official Development Assistance (ODA), in the form of grants. Currently, Japan is Africa’s third most important donor.

The Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize believes that by providing grants to those outstanding individuals in the medical and humanitarian fields, sustainable development for Africa and humanity can really be pioneered and achieved. Here, the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize stands to complement Japan’s endeavours for Africa from the purely humanitarian perspective, whilst applying Japan’s desire to provide aid that is both effective and sustainable. 

The Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize Fund is supported by the Government of Japan and receives donations from people all around the globe. If you feel inclined, please do consider contributing a small amount to our fund. 

Significance of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize

Dedicated to carrying out the will of Dr. Noguchi, the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize has its unique features. Firstly, it sheds light on the study of medicine, clinical studies, and the medical services, which have not necessarily received sufficient attention. Secondly, it is designed to support and reward people on the ground/site who have been challenging relevant issues for all of humanity – whether it by combating infectious diseases, or by improving people’s life in Africa. Since Noguchi himself was a man who spent a great deal of his time travelling through the Americas and Africa for his research, as a post to always remaining enclosed in a laboratory, this is a very important characteristic of the prize.

The first laureates of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize (2008) and activities of the laureates

Now, I would like to introduce you the first laureates of the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize (2008). 

Dr. Brian Greenwood (UK), the first laureate of the medical research category, was honored for his polyhedral research on, and his practical approach to, malaria. With the honorarium of the prize, he established the Africa London Nagasaki Fund in cooperation with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Institute of Tropical Medicine Nagasaki University. Training and education have been carried out for the benefit of doctors from Africa with the Fund. 

Prof. Miriam K. Were (Kenya), the first laureate of medical services category, was honored for her community-based approach to basic health service.  She has also been promoting public health programs, such as the training of community health workers, by making use of this honorarium. These outstanding activities conducted by the laureates are what embody the spirit of the prize.

I believe that the spirit of Dr. Hideyo Noguchi -- constituted by his faith in the power of science, indefatigable perseverance and self-sacrificing courage – will strive to be spread in the world more, and forever more.


  • For further information, please refer to the article ”Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize”. (K.Kurokawa, T.Tsukada, E. Maeda; Innovating for health and development –Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize- Global Forum Update on Research for Health, p48-51, Volume 5 2008 )
  • January 20, 2012, Mr. FUJIMURA Osamu, Chief Cabinet Secretary announced that the second Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize ceremony would take place on the occasion of TICAD V (The fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development) which would be held from 1st to 3rd June 2013 in Yokohama.


Useful Links


Japan’s ODA 



Chairperson, Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize Committee
Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Chairman, Health and Global Policy Institute
Chair and founder, IMPACT Foundation Japan

 Kiyoshi Kurokawa
Photo by Tetsuo Sakuma

March 1967

Graduated from the Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo


Research Associate, Department of Biochemistry, University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine


Professor of Medicine, Department of Medicine, UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) School of Medicine


Professor and Chairman, First Department of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Faculty of Medicine


Dean and Professor of Medicine, Tokai University School of Medicine


Professor Emeritus, University of Tokyo


President of the Science Council of Japan(~2006)


Member of Science and Technology Policy Committee, Cabinet Office (~2006)


Visiting Professor, Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology of the University of Tokyo
Director, Institute of Medical Sciences of Tokai University


Chairperson, the Consultative Committee for Okinawa New Graduate School, Cabinet Office


Chairman of the Health and Global Policy Institute

October 3, 2006

Special Advisor to the Cabinet (~October 2008)

November, 2006  

Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies


Academic Fellow, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies