Dr. Poplack was recognised for his distinguished contributions to the treatment of children with cancer and blood diseases in the United States of America and sub-Saharan Africa the first successful nominee for the Award by the College of health Sciences (CHS),
The late Ryoichi Sasakawa also received Honorary Doctorare of Laws (Honoris Causa) for his significant impact on agricultural development through extension edu¬cation and distance learning and commitment to fighting leprosy and poverty.
Sekawa was nominated by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) .
The Guest of Honour, State Minister for Higher Education-Hon. Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo, who represented the Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni congratulated the duo and commended them for the efforts towards humanity.
“To Dr. David Poplack and the family of the Late Ryoichi Sasakawa, I say, yours is a celebration well-earned and well-deserved, and the Government and the people of Uganda count it a great honour and privilege to identify with and celebrate this milestone with you,” Muyingo said.
In his welcome remarks, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, talked of Dr. David Poplack’s as a major contributor to the field of Hematic Oncology and “ an infinitely humane, kind, generous, and principled person with a deep sense of social justice in a global context.He also paid tribute to Ryoichi Sasakawa, whose foundation supported innovative degree programmes at the University.
“We are delighted that Dr. Poplack accepted the award and is personally here, together with his wife Mrs. June Poplack, and daughter Ms. Jocelyn Poplack, and the representatives from Texas Children’s Hospital Baylor College of Medicine. I congratulate him upon the much deserved award” added Prof. Nawangwe.
True to his humane and genial character, Dr. Poplack started off his acceptance speech by congratulating the family of the Late Ryoichi Sasakawa as represented by Prof. Oniang’o upon the conferment of the Honorary Doctor of Laws. “I am extremely thankful to Makerere Universityfor this outstanding honour today. I am very proud to be identified with Makerere University” he added.
Dr. Poplack equally paid tribute to his wife, children and the staff at the Texas Children’s Hospital for all the support rendered to him throughout his professional journey. He further paid tribute to Uganda as a Nation, which contributed to his foundational training as a Pediatric Oncologist, through to his mentor Dr. John Ziegler, the first Director of the Uganda Can¬cer Institute.
Dr. David Poplack (C) with Dr. Joseph Lubega (L), Staff of SAA, Fellowship Graduands and Mak Staff after the Award Ceremony, 9th August 2018, Kampala Uganda: File photo
He further noted that the strides made in research on burkitt lymphoma among children in Uganda greatly improved the rate of children being cured of cancer in developed countries from less than 20% in 1975 to more than 80% presently. “We remain focused on building a specialised training centre of excellence for the treatment of cancer among children in Uganda and no one is better placed to lead these efforts in Africa than the Ugandan stakeholders.”
He paid tribute to the leadership at the Ministry of Health, Uganda Cancer Institute, College of Health Sciences, and Mulago National Referral Hospital for all the support that had resulted in his recognition “We are indeed, as your motto suggests, building for the future and, together, we will most certainly succeed” concluded Dr. Poplack.
On behalf of Makerere University, the Chairperson of Council, Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem presented plaques and an assortment of souvenirs to Dr. David Poplack and Prof. Ruth Oniang’o on behalf of the Late Ryoichi Sasakawa. Reflecting on a personal point of loss, an emotional Chairperson said, “In 2008, I lost a nephew to leukemia and at that point, I came face-to-face with the challenges of this disease. I therefore thank you for the great work you are doing in this field and may God bless you.”