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Dr. Mike Ryan of WHO and Dr. Lilian Otiso of LVCT Health accept Trócaire’s Romero Award

Dr. Mike Ryan, Executive Director of the WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, and Dr. Lilian Otiso of Kenyan healthcare provider LVCT Health today received Trócaire’s Romero Award in recognition of their efforts to protect vulnerable communities from Covid-19.

The annual award, given to honour outstanding contributions to global justice, was this year given to co-recipients in recognition of the efforts at global level and local level to protect people from the virus.

Dr. Ryan was awarded the Romero Award for his global leadership and efforts to highlight the risks facing vulnerable people in the developing world, while LVCT Health was named as co-recipient for their efforts to protect vulnerable young women in Kenya throughout the pandemic.

Dr. Ryan and LVCT Health CEO Dr. Lilian Otiso were today honoured for their efforts throughout the Covid-19 pandemic at an online ceremony.

Trócaire CEO Caoimhe de Barra said:

“The last 12 months has been enormously difficult for everybody. Combatting Covid-19 has required a global and local response. We are delighted to award the Romero Award to Dr. Mike Ryan for his global leadership and to LVCT Health for their vitally important work in protecting young women in Kenya. 

“Trócaire’s partners around the world have had to entirely change their programmes to respond to the health and social needs brought about by the pandemic. LVCT Health has worked with vulnerable women in Kenya to keep them safe, not only from Covid-19 but also from gender-based violence. The rates of violence against women around the world have grown significantly during the pandemic. Violence against women is itself a pandemic and we are delighted to work with such a strong partner as LVCT Health to help keep young women safe.

“We are also delighted to honour Dr. Mike Ryan. Dr. Ryan has consistently highlighted the threat of Covid-19 in the developing world and the need for global solidarity in our response to the virus. This message is so important now at a time when the unequal distribution of vaccines threatens to derail the global effort to combat this virus.”

Accepting the Romero Award, Dr. Mike Ryan said:

 “COVID-19 does not discriminate. We too cannot, must not, discriminate in our fight against this pandemic. Doing so will only work in the pandemic’s favour. The last eight months have shown us that unity, not singularity, defeats pandemics.”

Dr. Lilian Otiso of LVCT Health said:

“Covid-19 has been difficult for everyone but especially the vulnerable. Lockdowns and other restrictions made the poor even poorer, increased cases of gender-based violence and interrupted schooling for millions of children. We are grateful to partners like Trócaire and our staff who adapted quickly and worked tirelessly to minimize the suffering and improve access to food and education for vulnerable girls and their families. As COVID continues to threaten the world, let us ensure our response does not further marginalize those most vulnerable in our communities.”   

This is the third time the Trócaire Romero Award has been awarded. The inaugural winner in 2018 was Sr. Bridget Tighe in honour of her more than two decades working with vulnerable people in the Middle East. The following year, the Romero Award was awarded to Abelino Chub Caal, a Guatemalan human rights defender who had spent over two years in prison due to his efforts to protect the rights of indigenous communities.

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