Professor Barry Schoub received the African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognises an exceptional individual whose contributions to laboratory science have made a positive impact on public health.
Prof Schoub, is the former Executive Director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) and post retirement serves as senior consultant and acting head of the Centre for Vaccines and Immunology at the NICD.
The award was presented to Prof Schoub at the first international conference of the ASLM, held in Cape Town from 1 to 7 December 2012.
Commenting on his award, Prof Schoub, in his typically humble manner, said he felt very honoured but that it was more a reflection of the entire team he has worked with over the past three decades at the NICD.
About the development of ASLM, he said: “ASLM is an enormously exciting advancement for laboratory and medical science on the African continent. Until a few years ago, laboratory medicine in the rest of Africa was neglected. ASLM is highlighting the pivotal role laboratories play in diagnostics. The success of this inaugural conference, with its considerable turnout from countries across Africa, bodes well for the future, encouraging and enabling collaboration and networking between institutions.”
The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, commended Prof Schoub “for the meritorious service you have rendered in strengthening health systems, thus enabling the control and surveillance of infectious diseases. You used your talent, experience and knowledge to help guide research and strategic interventions both nationally and internationally”.
Prof Schoub joined the National Institute for Virology in 1976, which became the NICD in 2002, under the National Health Laboratory Service. His role at the NICD was two-fold: administering, overseeing and managing the institute, and managing the relationship of the NICD with its many stakeholders, including the national and provincial health departments, various South African universities, the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Protection Agency in the UK, among others.
Throughout his career, Prof Schoub has won many national and international scientific and humanitarian awards. Earlier this year, he was awarded the Order of Mapungubwe by the State President of South Africa, the country’s highest honour, in recognition of invaluable contributions to medical science, virology and infectious diseases and for services to the peoples of South Africa and internationally.