Unsung Hero Award

In recognition of the incredible work done by health partnerships involving Irish institutions and their counterparts in low- and middle-income countries, we have created the Unsung Hero Award. This award shines a light on individuals who have worked hard to show consistent and unshakeable commitment to the health partnership they are involved in.

Previous Winners

Unsung Hero 2021

Bonface Massah​, Country Director, Standing Voice Malawi​ -​ Edenpark Surgery Dublin & Standing Voice Malawi Partnership

As Country Director in Malawi, Bonface is responsible for coordinating the operation of programmes and development of partnerships in Malawi. He has spent nearly a decade defending the rights and social inclusion of people with disabilities in Africa, primarily those with albinism. A person with Albinism himself, his unwavering leadership qualities manifested in the fight for the rights and protection of people with Albinism, especially those in Malawi who were being targeted for ritual sacrifices and murders . A former president of the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi from 2009 to 2016, he later took on the role of national director, and worked to educate local authorities about the attacks against those in the albinism community.


Amel Sami​, Microbiome Docterate, UCC and APC Microbiome – APC Microbiome/University College Cork & National Ribat University Sudan Partnership

Amel is a dentist and is currently in her final months of finishing her doctorate in microbiology at University College Cork and the APC microbiome institute, Ireland In the field of microbiome. Amel played several key roles in the coming about of the ESTHER microbiome partnership. Amel is a hard working dedicated person. She has been able to bring two research teams from Africa and Europe together in a very successful manner. She played a pivotal role in the establishment of the Ireland, Sudanese partnership in relation to microbiome where she was able to passionately see the positive presence of team work and was full of encouragement helping both sides to partner up for the improvement of Sudanese life and science overall.


Unsung Hero 2020

Dr. Elenia Macamo Amado​, Consultant Obstetrician, Maputo Central Hospital, Mozambique​ – ​Health Service Executive – Mozambique Ministry of Health Partnership

Dr. Elenia Macamo Amadon was the Assistant Director for Medical Services at the Mozambique Ministry of Health from 2015 to 2020. In this role she had responsibility for the country’s hospital services. Following her appointment in 2015, she identified poor quality of care as a priority issue for hospital services in Mozambique. She decided to address this issue through the collaboration with the HSE. Her leadership has been the single most important factor in the success of the partnership. The work that Dr. Elenia undertook is a story of untiring dedication, commitment and skilled leadership. The work of Dr. Elenia has been the most critical factor in making the partnership succeed. 


Dr. Sami Ahmed​, Retired Consultant Paediatrician​ – Cork University   Maternity Hospital-Omdurman  Maternity Hospital Partnership

Dr. Sami Ahmed has been involved in the Cork and Omdurman Maternity Hospital Partnership, the Cork University (UCC), and Ministry of Health – Neonatal resuscitation program (NRP) and the Cork University Maternity Hospital (CUMH), AAP (American association of pediatrics) and HBB (Help babies breathe) programs. Dr. Sami was deeply and passionately involved in these multidisciplinary partnerships that involved collaboration, mutual respect and many shared objectives between Ireland and Sudan. Dr. Sami has never faltered to achieve commitment, dedication, leadership respect and honesty throughout his career and with ESTHER, he has given a special part of his life and dedicated commitment to the cause.


Unsung Hero 2019

Dermot O’Flynn, Director of Professional Development and Corporate Training, RCSI Institute of Leadership – Royal College of Surgeons Ireland-College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa

Since 2010, Mr. O’Flynn has to worked tirelessly to help a growing number of specialist surgeons across East, Central and Southern Africa to develop their skills as surgical trainers. This work was undertaken as part of the Irish Aid supported collaboration program between the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and the College of Surgeons of East, Central and Southern Africa (COSECSA). By equipping surgeons with the skills to train others, he has helped COSECSA to have an exponential impact on the surgical workforce in this region. To date, working with colleagues in COSECSA, RCSI and other institutions, Mr. O’Flynn has run 20 courses in 10 countries, from Ethiopia to Zimbabwe, directly training 212 surgeons as “COSECSA Accredited Trainers.” He has shown tremendous commitment to the task of helping surgeons develop their teaching and training capacity, and has always gone the extra mile for the project.