Manama: Jemilah Mahmoud, the founder of the Malaysian Medical Relief Society (MERCY Malaysia), will on Sunday receive the Isa Award for Service to Humanity.
The laureate will be presented the award of the first edition at a ceremony to be held under the patronage of King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa at the Isa Cultural Centre in the capital Manama in the presence of local dignitaries and an international audience.
In announcing in April the name of the winner, the Board of Trustees of the Isa Award for Services to Humanity praised her efforts in disaster prevention and relief, education, community service, environment protection, climate change, and poverty alleviation.
Jemilah was selected thanks to her “continuous humanitarian work”, the board said.
Her achievements included the establishment of a maternity and health centre for women in Darfur, Sudan, in 2004 that is now run by a local team.
Under her leadership, MERCY Malaysia also rebuilt 13 health centres in cooperation with the Health Ministry in Myanmar, after Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Following the tsunami disaster in December 2004 and the destructive earthquake that ensued in March 2005, she also helped the people of Banda Aceh, one of the poorest communities in Indonesia.
Jemilah drew up a plan to provide the necessary healthcare, helped rebuild two health centres, and renovated the island’s Gunung Sitoli Hospital.
“Dr Jemilah Mahmoud’s selection as the laureate of the Isa Award for Services to Humanity reflects the impact of her work on Asian and African communities and the radical changes those regions have witnessed as a result,” Professor Jan Paulsson, head of the Award’s Nominations Committee, said. “Her visionary work focuses not only on short-term and immediate assistance to disaster-stricken communities, but also on long-term rehabilitation and training of local workers to enable them to continue to help and provide recovery efforts after the completion of relief work.”
According to a statement carried by Bahrain News Agency (BNA), the Nominations Committee realised, during the review of the candidates, the highly important role that Jemilah played in providing “such a unique humanitarian service, a role that has qualified her to be one of the most influential figures in this regard”.
“Dr Jemilah Mahmoud was selected from among a large group of candidates who left a clear and sustainable mark on humanity,” Ali Abdullah Khalifa, the Award’s Secretary General, said. “Her selection as the laureate of the Isa Award for Services to Humanity was the fruit of two years of persistent work that included intensive coordination among the Award’s General Secretariat, the Nomination Committee, the Jury, and other parties involved in humanitarian services,” he said. “Dr Jemilah Mahmoud was considered the most competent candidate for the Award as she often put her life in the heart of danger, which proves her determination and unlimited desire to help others and serve humanity” he said.
Mohammad Benaissa, former foreign minister of Morocco and member of the Nominations Committee of the Isa Award for Services to Humanity, said that “through activities and interactions that transcended racial, ethnic, and religious differences, Dr Jemilah Mahmoud offered a great model”.