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Saving lives in Africa with science

461. Beatriz Calvo

A research scientist who has volunteered her time and skills to an initiative working to tackles disease and save hundreds of thousands of lives

Beatriz was presented with the award by former US President Jimmy Carter and International Development Minister Nick Hurd as they today announced a UK-US partnership to eradicate Guinea Worm.  Originally from Madrid in Spain, Beatriz is the first Spanish national to win the UK Points of Light award.

Beatriz Calvo, 48, is currently studying for a Masters degree in epidemiology and has always had an interest in public health. Last summer she met two of the scientists leading the work of the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) who are working to tackle parasites carried by freshwater snails which kill 280,000 people every year, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa.

Beatriz realised she could use her specialist skills to carry out advanced volunteering work for the Initiative, analysing data and applying mathematical techniques which few people have the skills required to do. She now gives her time one day a week to support the work of SCI as well as studying for her degree and working as a data analyst.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Beatriz has shown fantastic dedication to working to eradicate a disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. The specialist skills and knowledge required for this research work mean that few people are able to volunteer in this way. Beatriz’s service could help to make a huge difference to communities across Africa, and I am delighted to recognise her as a Point of Light.”

Beatriz said:

“I am honoured to have been granted the Points of Light Award from the Prime Minister. It has been a rewarding experience volunteering at the Schistosomiasis Control Initiative (SCI) and being able to contribute to the great work that the SCI team is doing to combat parasitic diseases in sub-Saharan Africa. I would like to thank SCI for giving me the opportunity to help in such vital work.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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