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Former Minister of Health of Peru Honored for Work Combating Iodine Deficiency Disorders in Latin America

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On September 29, 2009, Dr. Eduardo A. Pretell Zárate, former Minister of Health of Peru (2000 – 2001) and recognized as the most prestigious expert on iodine deficiency disorders (IDD) in Latin America, received the esteemed Abraham Horwitz Award for Leadership in Inter-American Health from the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

The award honors Dr. Pretell's long career researching and combating iodine deficiency disorders in Latin America. Iodine deficiency is endemic to most countries of the region and can impact brain development as well as cause thyroid-related health issues.

Dr. Pretell's remarkable contributions to the field include defining that iodine deficiency during pregnancy and lactation results in brain damage and mental retardation in newborns. Currently, Dr. Pretell has organized a mobile van that travels throughout Latin America documenting iodine deficiency and encouraging public advocacy for IDD's overall elimination.

The second Peruvian to ever win the award, Dr. Pretell has played a key role in organizing and participating in groups fighting IDD. He was the founder of the National Iodine Deficiency Control Program in Peru and is regional coordinator for Latin America in the International Council for the Control of Iodine Deficiency Disorders, an international nonprofit. He also has been an active participant in the Andean Sub-Regional Project for the control of iodine deficiency.


Dr. Eduardo Pretell Accepts 2009 Abraham Horwitz Award for Excellence in Inter-American Health from PAHEF on Vimeo.

"One of the greatest satisfactions we dedicate ourselves to in scientific health research is to achieve results that improve the quality of the individual and collective life, as is the case with the prevention of cerebral damage caused by an iodine deficiency," says Dr. Pretell. "If we add public recognition, through the adjudication of the Abraham Horwitz Award for Leadership in Inter-American Health, undoubtedly, I feel very honored and happy. This award, beyond question, will contribute to strengthening the regional commitment to achieve the sustained elimination of this deficiency in all of the Americas and the world."

"Iodine deficiency disorders are very grave and often overlooked amongst the public. Dr. Pretell's work to combat iodine deficiency is helping to make the people of Latin America healthier and lead better lives," says Edward Kadunc, executive director of the Pan American Health and Education Foundation. "PAHEF is proud to honor his contributions to health in Latin America and his demonstrated leadership."

Since 1975, the Abraham Horwitz Award for Leadership in Inter-American Health has recognized committed leaders and their contributions to public health resulting in region-wide improvements in the lives of the peoples of the Americas.

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