The award, launched to recognise and celebrate the outstanding work of individuals whose efforts have contributed to advancing cancer care and control, was received by President Vázquez's son, Alvaro Vázquez, a medical oncologist, H.E. Dr Jorge Basso, Minister of Public Health of Uruguay, and H.E. Mr Rodolfo Nin Novoa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay.
President Vázquez, who is undergoing treatment for a lung nodule with malignant appearance, could not be present in person, but sent a video message of thanks, highlighting his ongoing committment in the battle against cancer, now the more urgent as it takes a very personal turn.
A long-standing global advocate for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), President Vázquez was recognised for his efforts in promoting tobacco cessation control and for his work in reforming the health system in Uruguay to support universal health coverage.
President Vázquez played a major role in Uruguay’s victory against Philipp Morris International in court in 2016 to ensure the health risks associated with smoking were visible on cigarette packaging.
The award ceremony also recognised the work of the other two finalists, Prof. Ian Hector Frazer, an internationally renowned medical doctor and researcher in the field of immunology whose pioneering work with the late Professor Zhou created the basic technology behind the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine, and H.E. Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of Zambia, who re-engineered his country's health system in pursuit of universal health coverage, and was the first African Head of State to announce a commitment to the elimination of cervical cancer.