A University of Pretoria (UP) South African scientist has emerged as the winner of the 2018 Olusegun Obasanjo Prize for Scientific Breakthrough and/or Technological Innovation. The award is made by the African Academy of Sciences (AAS) and covers the year 2018 to 2020. The award is a biennial award, not an annual award.

The winner, a Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Professor, Daniël Christiaan de Wet Swanepoel, won the award for his innovative work in the field of mobile health and telehealth, particularly concerning audiology. Also added to the prestige of the award is a $5,000 cash award.

“Congratulations to Prof Daniël Christiaan de Wet Swanepoel for achieving this feat,” said AAS president Professor Felix Dapare Dakora. “This award is a testament to his ingenuity in audiology and his dedication to improving the quality of life of Africans suffering from hearing impairment.”

In his response to receiving the award, Swanepoel said: “It is an honour to receive this prestigious award, and it serves as a further inspiration to see access to healthy hearing become a reality for every African”.

The UP professor is also a senior researcher with the Ear Science Institute Australia. He has about 20 years of experience in ear and hearing research. He has over 160 peer-reviewed articles, books, and chapters in books. This has gained him wide international recognition.

The focus of his research is based on using advances in information and communications technologies to research, develop, and evaluate both innovative service delivery models and technologies, to improve the provision of ear and hearing care. This is aimed at making it easier for low and middle-income countries to access ear and hearing health.

“Prof. Swanepoel has pushed the boundaries in science to come up with innovative and impactful solutions to improve ‘ear and hearing’ care in Africa,” said. “As I extend my congratulations to him, I also welcome him to our growing membership of Fellows.”