In 2020, AFIDEP recognised and awarded three African Academy of Sciences (AAS) scholars who have demonstrated innovation with initiatives and interventions that promote evidence-informed decision-making (EIDM) in government institutions in their countries. As a runners up, Prof. Friday Okonofua received a symbolic cash award of US$ 2,500. He was recognised for his work on policy engagement and use of evidence to advocate for policy and practice in women’s health/sexual and reproductive health issues. One of his notable achievements was the establishment of the Women’s Health and Action Research Centre (WHARC), which has played a key brokering role in supporting evidence use.
The three scholars – winner and two runners up were awarded during a two-day Evidence Leaders in Africa virtual conference held on 3-4 November 2020. The virtual event brought together researchers mainly within the AAS networks, policymakers and practitioners in Africa to share lessons and experiences on researchers’ roles in strengthening evidence use in government decision-making. The conference is a culmination of a two-year project dubbed Evidence Leaders in Africa (ELA). Since inception in 2018, ELA has been using various approaches to expand leadership for use of evidence in policy formulation and implementation by African governments.
About Prof. Friday Okonofua
Prof. Okonofua is a professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, and the African Academy of Science. He has served as the Executive Director of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics and as Honorary Adviser on Health to President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria.
He is a global champion in women’s health, a discipline where he has published more than 270 journal articles and obtained 46 international research grants. He is the founder of the Women’s Health and Action Research Centre, one of Nigeria’s leading NGOs, and the founding editor of the African Journal of Reproductive Health. He is a member of the editorial board of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and a reviewer to several international journals. He is the current Editor in Chief of the Proceedings of the Nigerian Academy of Science, published by the Nigerian Academy of Science.
Prof. Okonofua has served as program officer at the Ford Foundation and as consultant to several international agencies, including the Macarthur Foundation and the World Health Organization. He is the team leader of the World Bank Centre of Excellence in Reproductive Health Innovation, and the Coordinator of the World Bank projects at the University of Benin in Nigeria. He recently completed his term as the pioneer Vice-Chancellor of the first University of Medical Sciences in Ondo State in Nigeria, and now he is the Director of Grants and Research at the University of Benin, in Nigeria.
Watch Acceptance Speech