A year after being honoured by the royal house of Thailand, former Minister of Health, Professor Sheila Tlou, has added two big feathers to her cap.
Tlou, who is the UNAIDS Director of the Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa based in South Africa, has become the first African woman to become a member of the United States National Academy of Medicine. The Academy, which is formally known as the Institute of Medicine, is a non-profit NGO that was founded in 1970 under the congressional charter of the National Academy of Sciences and is the US’ most esteemed and authoritative adviser on issues of health and medicine. It works outside the framework of the federal government to provide independent guidance and analysis and relies on a volunteer workforce of scientists and other experts. Last year, Tlou was elected a foreign associate of the Academy.
Tlou has also been decorated with a Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sigma Theta Tau International Honour Society of Nursing at its 43rd Biennial Convention that was held in Las Vegas. The award has been conferred only four times in the history of the organisation. Sigma Theta Tau is an international body that funds and encourages the advancement of nursing science through research around the globe, as well as leadership to enable deserving nurses from around the world to participate in the Society’s leadership and educational programs such as the International Nursing Research Congress and the Biennial Convention.
A former Professor of Nursing at the University of Botswana, Tlou holds four degrees from US universities: a PhD in Nursing Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a Masters degree in Nursing Education and Instruction from Columbia University, a Master of Science in Nursing from the Catholic University of America, and Bachelor of Nursing degree from Dillard University, New Orleans.
In October last year, she received the Princess Srinagarindra Award in Thailand, which is one of the most prestigious awards in that country. The award was established in honour of the mother of the current Thai king, Bhumibol Adulyadej. Arriving at the airport with her mother, she was led to a gleaming Mercedes Benz with a royal crest and chauffeured to her hotel under police escort. At the time of Tlou’s arrival, King Adulyadej was hospitalized and it was arranged that she visit his sickbed to pay her respects with TV crews in tow.