Source: President rewards Covid-19 doctor | The Herald
Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has awarded a US$50 000 token of appreciation to world-renowned Matobo District-born medical scientist and virologist, Dr Sikhulile Moyo, in recognition of his contribution in saving humanity after he discovered the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira, handed over the “Presidential gift” to Dr Moyo yesterday at his rural home in Donkwe-Donkwe area near Kezi, Matabeleland South.
The Botswana-based medical specialist is at home for the holidays and organised the celebration for his achievement with his village counterparts.
The multi-award-winning doctor made headlines when he discovered the Omicron variant last year in November during his routine work in Botswana.
Since then, he has put Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Africa on the global map, earning himself several international awards for humanitarian work.
Dr Moyo has won the Festus Mogae Award of HIV Research, the Martin Luther King Jr Humanitarian Award, the German Africa Award 2022, Time 100 most influential people in the world 2022, New African Award top 100 most influential Africans 2022.
His discovery informed the types of vaccines that need to be manufactured to counter the pandemic.
Yesterday, Dr Moyo’s family, friends and Government officials converged at his rural home to celebrate his global success. Representing the Government, Prof Murwira said President Mnangagwa and the State appreciates in a big way Dr Moyo’s contribution to saving humanity.
“In this regard His Excellency, the President Dr E.D. Mnangagwa in recognition of this great scientific achievement, is actually looking into the most appropriate excellence award to be given nationally to Dr Moyo,” he said.
“It means the big thing is coming. However, in the meantime, His Excellency, the President Dr E.D. Mnangagwa presents this token. This is just a token of appreciation to Dr Moyo on behalf of Government and people of Zimbabwe, of US$50 000 to Dr Moyo,” said Prof Murwira, much to the ululation of guests.
He said it was not a mean achievement to detect an Omicron variant, which threatened to decimate humanity.
Prof Murwira said Dr Moyo’s discovery, as a Zimbabwean son of the soil who made significant contributions to global health systems to save the world, greatly excited President Mnangagwa.
He said it was not surprising that global institutions have queued to honour Dr Moyo.
It’s not only in Zimbabwe, not only southern Africa but the globe. His Excellency, the President is elated with the achievement of this son of the soil,” said Prof Murwira.
“We know that Dr Moyo won international awards and nominations that have placed Zimbabwe and Africa on the world map; that include Festus Mogae Award of HIV research, the Martin Luther King Jr Humanitarian Award, the German Africa Award 2022, Time 100 Most Influential People in the World 2022, New African Award top 100 most influential Africans 2022.
“These awards are a testimony to excellence in scientific research by Dr Moyo. Scientific research that leads to the betterment of humanity.”
Prof Murwira said Dr Moyo’s achievements are a confidence booster for other Zimbabweans that “there is no limit” when they put their minds to any projects they are involved in.
He said while Western names have dominated the scientific space of achievers, Dr Moyo has written his name in the echelons of history.
“We are used to Einstein, Freedman, Ford and now Moyo, Dhewa, Vumabalanda internationally, yeah omageza ngochago. It’s just opening the doors. What you have done is to open the doors to say Moyo, Dewa, Vumabalanda from Zimbabwe can do it,” said Prof Murwira.
“It opens so much confidence and we are very happy that you have been speaking up and standing up for your country. You are a world citizen and can stay anywhere in the world but you are a son of this soil.
“Ungumtwana womhlabathi weZimbabwe, you have stood up for the region, you have stood up for Africa. It is very important to give confidence to the young people to just show them that it’s possible.” Prof Murwira said the Government is ready to support innovative young people as they respond to the country’s challenges.
In his remarks, Dr Moyo said he was humbled by the recognition and honour bestowed on him by the Government.
He also paid tribute to the team of scientists that he works with for propelling his success.
“These awards and this honour from Government is to say we recognise talent, we recognise you for working hard. It’s giving me energy to run and run with others. “It is a relay, you run and there are others that need to take the baton and identify abled others who can make a difference,” said Dr Moyo.
“For collaboration, team-work, there is no successful scientist who is an island. Even the awards I won there are scientists who I work with and I acknowledge them as their leader. That is the beauty of doing science.” Local member of the House of Assembly and Primary and Secondary Education Deputy Minister, Cde Edgar Moyo, said it was a proud moment to celebrate Dr Moyo’s achievement at the village.
“It is very rare that we are recognised at this level by the entire world. It is the reason for us to be here and celebrate. It is not just a celebration of a major breakthrough in the medical field but also an inspiration to our young people,” he said. Also Present were historian Mr Pathisa Nyathi and deputy chief secretary to the President and Cabinet, Paul Bayethe Damasane.