Vietnamese surgeon wins Nikkei Asia Prize for pioneering children treatments

By Dang Khoa   June 14, 2018 | 05:19 pm PT
Vietnamese surgeon wins Nikkei Asia Prize for pioneering children treatments
Dr. Nguyen Thanh Liem (L) takes a picture with a child patient and a relative after a successful stem cell transplant. Photo by VnExpress/An San
He performed the first laparoscopic surgery on a child in Asia, pioneered many other treatments in Vietnam.

Vietnamese doctor Nguyen Thanh Liem has been honored with the Nikkei Asia Prize for science and technology in recognition of his role in helping lower the nation’s child mortality rate.

Liem, well known for pioneering several treatments in the country, is particularly remembered for performing the first laparoscopic surgery on a child in Asia.

Explaining his penchant and passion for finding and trying out new treatments, Liem said: "We can change the lives of many children suffering from what were said to be incurable diseases in the past," Liem said.

The Nikkei Asian Review reported that Liem had begun performing laparoscopic surgeries back in 1997, when it was just starting to be performed in Europe.

Liem has also contributed greatly to promoting organ-transplant technologies and improving the network of organ donors in Vietnam. He is a pioneer in treating cerebral palsy using stem cell transplants and also the first to perform kidney, liver, and bone marrow transplants in Vietnam.

Ma Jun of China won the Nikkei business innovation prize for fighting pollution, while Bindeshwar Pathak from India the culture and community prize for his work in alleviating the lot of “untouchable” castes.

The Japanese news outlet launched the Nikkei Asia Prizes in 1996, rewarding individuals and groups in Asia four outstanding contributions to the region's development in various fields.

Some individuals who have received this prize include former prime minister of India, Manmohan Singh, and the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh.

The 23rd Nikkei Asia Prizes were awarded at a ceremony held in Tokyo, Japan, on June 13.

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