Terre des hommes wins the Balzan Prize: One million Swiss francs to save lives in Mali
On 23 November 2018, the Balzan Prize will be awarded to Terre des hommes in Rome. This year's Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity among Peoples rewards Switzerland's leading children's aid organisation for its global engagement. The prize money will support a project to reduce newborn mortality in Mali.
The Balzan Prize seeks to encourage the world's most deserving culture, sciences and humanitarian initiatives. The Prize for Humanity, Peace and Fraternity among Peoples is a special prize awarded by the Italian-Swiss Foundation at varying intervals of no less than 3 years.
Former prize-winners have been Mother Theresa, UNHCR, Abbé Pierre and the ICRC. This year, the prize is being given to Switzerland’s leading child relief organisation. Enrico Decleva, President of the International Balzan Foundation "Prize" in Milan, stated, “A major factor influencing our decision was Terre des hommes' commitment to improving the daily lives of the most vulnerable and saving millions of poor children around the world, in particular through its SIMESON project in Mali.” The prize is worth one million Swiss francs and will be allocated to Tdh’s obstetric and neonatal care training programme in Mali.
“Mali is one of the most dangerous places to give birth. The country only has three trained health workers per 10,000 inhabitants. Neonatal and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. Nearly 60% of deliveries are unassisted childbirths. In some isolated areas, the figure is 99%,” says Riccardo Lampariello, Tdh's health programme manager.
Tdh has responded by developing mobile units that teach life-saving procedures. Healthcare workers use mannequins to learn the correct techniques for dealing with perinatal asphyxia and postpartum haemorrhage. Many babies and mothers are now being saved in remote parts of Mali thanks to the use of this mobile equipment and proven training methods.
“We’re thrilled to be receiving this prize. It is recognition for almost 60 years of work that Terre des hommes has been doing with children. It is also a wonderful endorsement of the spirit of innovation that drives us. This prize will allow us to develop the SIMESON project in Mali and, most importantly, to replicate it in other countries,” says Vito Angelillo, Tdh Director.