Immediate release, 21 June 2016

Prof Philippe Rasoanaivo, a phytochemist from Madagascar, is the 2015 winner of the Olusegun Obasanjo Prize for using traditional medicine to improve efficacy of existing drugs for brain disorders and also treating sexual dysfunction among men.

The Olusegun Obasanjo for Science for Scientific Breakthrough and/ or Technological Innovations Prize is given by the African Academy of Sciences every two years to scientists who have excelled in the fields of biotechnology, energy, ICT or materials sciences.
He will receive his prize at the AAS 10th General Assembly on 21 June. The General Assembly is taking place in Kasane, Botswana, on 21-22 June 2016.

Prof Rasoanaivo works for both the Institut Malgache de Recherches Appliquées, Fondation Rakoto Ratsimamanga (Malagasy Institute of Applied Research, Rakoto Ratsimamanga Foundation) and the University of Antananarivo.

Prof Rasoanaivo is a natural product chemist who has made huge contributions in ethnobotany-based drugs – those derived from plants used in traditional knowledge -and phytomedicines.

He has published 140 peer-review papers and over 100 other papers. He has several patents and has manufactured eight phytomedicines. He focuses on research and development targeting malaria and diseases affecting the brain. 

Prof Rasoanaivo is being honoured for his studies on Hazolava, a traditional plant in Madagascar, which may be important for treating psychiatric and sleep disorders, convulsions and male sexual dysfunction. The Malagasy researcher, who has been phytochemist for the past 40 years, has also been instrumental in using traditional medicine for malaria chemotherapy and immunotherapy.

AAS President Aderemi Kuku, who chaired the jury and its deliberations said, “Rasoanaivo is being honoured because his contributions as a scholar to phytochemistry has been very outstanding. In addition his research results are also very helpful  to the community."

Rasoanaivo said he is happy to be a winner. “I am happy to have won this. It’s very important that science is used for the betterment of society. The recognition that we get as scientists is a motivation for others to continue to serve our communities, countries and the continent,” he said.

Deborah-Fay Ndlovu, African Academy of Sciences, +254 727 660 760 | +254 20 806 0674

About the AAS
The African Academy of Sciences (AAS) is a pan-African organisation headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, that recognises individuals who have reached the highest level of excellence in their field of expertise and have made contributions to the advancement of the field in the continent. These individuals are recognised on merit and designated as fellows of the Academy.
There are about 330 AAS Fellows and Associate Fellows who are proven science, technology and innovation leaders, policy advisors and thinkers most of whom live and work throughout the continent.