First Vietnamese doctor awarded 2018 Nikkei Asia Prize
Updated : Thursday, June 14, 2018 9:37 AM (GMT+0700)

NguyenThanh Liem, Director of the Stem Cell and Gene Technology Institute at VinmecTimes City International Hospital, has become the first Vietnamese doctor toreceive the 2018 Nikkei Asia Prize in the science and technology category.

Doctor Nguyen Thanh Liem - Photo:

The honour was awarded tothe doctor at a ceremony in Tokyo on June 13 in recognition of his workadvancing health care for children. 

Nikkei said Liem performed Asia's first laparoscopic surgery on a child.Commonly used on adults, the procedure involves making small incisions in theabdomen, but is more difficult to perform on children because their bodies aresmaller, leaving less room to work.

Having learned minimallyinvasive surgery from French pioneer Philippe Mouret, Liem was determined to"bring pediatric endoscopic surgery to Vietnam" to reduce the needfor major procedures that leave serious pain and scars. In 2014, he became oneof pioneers in using stem cell transplants to treat serious disorders such ascerebral palsy.

The Nikkei Asia Prize wasalso presented to Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun in the field of businessinnovation prize, and founder of Sulabh International of India BindeshwarPathak, in the culture and community category. 

The prize was created in1996 to commemorate the 120th anniversary of Nikkei's main Japaneselanguage newspaper. Past winners include Manmohan Singh, who won in 1997 beforebecoming India's prime minister, and Bangladeshi social entrepreneur MuhammadYunus, who was honored in 2004 and went on to receive the 2006 Nobel PeacePrize for pioneering the concept of microfinance.


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