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The Nikkei Asia Prize is an annual award that recognizes people who have improved lives in Asia.

According to Nikkei Asian Review, the winner of the Asia Prize this year in Science and Technology is Dr. Nguyen Thanh Liem, a pioneer of pediatric surgery in Vietnam. Dr. Liem is currently the director of Vinmec Research Institute of Stem Cell and Gene Technology.

Dr. Liem is the medical expert who was credited with performing Asia's first laparoscopic surgery on a child with Hirschsprung's disease — a condition characterized by the lack of nerves in parts of the intestine, causing constipation — in 1997. In 2002, his thoracoscopic surgery successfully treated an infant with a hiatal hernia, a condition where organs in the abdomen slip through the diaphragm and enter the central section of the chest.

Each year, the Nikkei Asia Prizes awards nine people across three categories including Economic and Business Innovation; Science and Technology; and Culture and Community.

Dr. Liem is the first Vietnamese person to receive the Science and Technology award since it was established 22 years ago. According to the award's website, the Science and Technology category "recognize[s] scientific researches and technological innovations in various fields, ranging from bio, genome, information technology to medicine." 

According to the President of the Nikkei Asia Prizes Science and Technology Selection Committee Hiroshi Matsumoto, besides being a pioneer in pediatric surgery in Vietnam, Dr. Liem also laid the foundation for robotic surgery and other innovations that improve children's lives in Vietnam,reports Phap Luat. Liem's recent research regarding stem cells has also yielded positive results.

[Photo via Nikkei Asian Review


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