Global Health

9 striking images from the 2019 Wellcome Photography Prize on health and humanity

humanity health mother son disease healthcare virus epidemic pandemic zika malaria ambulance blindness impaired accessibility depression suicide anxiety transplant

The Forum and its partners are working towards helping those affected in these human stories - here's how. Image: Unsplash/Kelli McClintock

Alice Hazelton
Programme Lead, Science and Society, World Economic Forum
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Global Health?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Global Health is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Global Health

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

From personalised medicine to a new Ebola vaccine, breakthroughs in health affect us all.

Here are 9 striking images from the 2019 Wellcome Photography Prize, accompanied by the story behind the shot, and ways in which the Forum and its partners are leading change.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil epidemic outbreak zika virus disease spread contamination data tourism
Hold Me Mother, 2018. Image: Felipe Fittipaldi / Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

João was born with microcephaly, which is becoming more common in Brazil because of Zika outbreaks. Some of these children, with complex health needs, are abandoned – including João. He was adopted by Marilene and given a loving home.


What is the World Economic Forum doing about epidemics?

The Epidemics Readiness Accelerator addresses challenges to public-private cooperation relied upon for effective readiness against epidemic threats, such as in areas of travel and tourism, supply chain, and data innovations.

Mpala Research Centre, northern Kenya disease baboon disease transmission infection outbreak
Virus Hunters, 2017. Image: David Chancellor / Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

These scientists are testing a variety of animals – like this baboon – to understand how diseases are transmitted to humans. This knowledge will help Kenya and other countries to prepare for emerging infections and respond faster when an outbreak strikes.

Have you read?

Launched in Davos in 2017, CEPI is an innovative global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations to develop vaccines and create a world in which epidemics are no longer a threat to humanity.

London, United Kingdom mental health teenage suicide depression scar cut anxiety self harm
Self-Harm – The Teenage Epidemic (Alan), 2018. Image: Jude Wacks / Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

Alan, aged 18, has a history of self-harming. In what many describe as an “epidemic”, more and more UK young people are being hospitalised as a result of self-harming, and child emotional disorders have risen sharply this century.

The Forum is collaborating with Orygen to create a global model for youth mental health, focused on preventive and community-based approaches and adaptable to different resource settings.

Nasir, Upper Nile, South Sudan trachoma sanitation hygiene blind sight vision impaired
Saving Sight, 2013. Image: Adriane Ohanesian / Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

Surgeon Calso Thubo Paul operates on the eyes of a 13-year-old with trachoma, caused by poor sanitation and hygiene. During a ten-day visit to Nasir, the Sightsavers medical team performed 216 operations without running water or electricity.

UHC2030 provides a multi-stakeholder platform that promotes collaborative working at global and country levels on health systems strengthening, accelerating progress towards Universal Health Coverage.

Chongwe, Zambia malaria ambulance driver community healthcare system worker durgs disease
Dismuss and His Malaria Ambulance, 2014. Image: Brent Stirton / Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

Dismuss transports a boy with malaria. He is a volunteer community healthcare worker, and is trained to test for common diseases and administer basic drugs. He carries more serious cases to the nearest clinic, 14 km away.

M2030 brings together businesses, consumers and health organisations in a unique partnership to eliminate malaria in Asia by 2030.

Jouarre, France artificial intelligence robotics paris healthcare exercise alzheimers ageing
Zora the Robot Care-Giver, 2018. Image: Dmitry Kostyukov / Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

This woman in a nursing facility outside Paris has become attached to Zora the robot. Used in healthcare settings in France and elsewhere, Zora is controlled remotely and can help with communication and provide comfort and entertainment (including exercise classes).

The Forum and Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer's are collaborating to incentivize pre-competitive stage research, sharing data, minimizing financial risk and developing precise biomarkers.

Riga, Latvia blind impaired vision city braille disability accessibility
City for the Blind, 2016–17. Image: Hieronymus Ahrens / Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

Sofia goes to school in the ‘City for the Blind’ on the outskirts of Riga, a community of around 200 people who are blind or partially sighted. Facilities include a rehabilitation centre, a Braille library and a clubhouse.

Launched in Davos in 2019, the Valuable 500 seeks to tackle the trend for businesses to claim they are diverse, but exclude disability from their definition of diversity.

Tehran, Iran motor impairment hair loss disease rare uncommon inherited parents
The Hidden Visible, 2017. Image: Mona Mona Hoobehfekr / Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

Sisters Zahra (20) and Sana (13) have a disease too rare to have yet been identified. Their symptoms include motor impairment and hair loss.

Kiev, Ukraine mother son HIv aids disease transmission birth pregnancy positive negative
Valeria and Tymofii, 2017. Image: Chris de Bode / Wellcome Photography Prize 2019.

Valeria is a young mother who tested HIV positive while pregnant with her son Tymofii – he is HIV negative. In 2014 Valeria was supporting people with HIV in eastern Ukraine, continuing her work even when Russian troops invaded.

Launched in Davos in 2006, the (RED) Campaign’s mission to see an AIDS-free generation in our lifetime.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Global HealthDavos AgendaHealth and Healthcare
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Kidney disease ‘should be global health priority’, plus other top health stories

Shyam Bishen

April 10, 2024

About Us



Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum