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Renowned obstetrician and gynaecologist, Professor Horace Fletcher, has been awarded the Gold Musgrave Medal for his revolutionary work in maternal health.

He was one of two gold medalists recognised by the Institute of Jamaica on October 10 at its 2012 Musgrave Award ceremony held at the Institute's East Street headquarters, downtown Kingston. The other was retired University of the West Indies (UWI) Professor Edward Baugh, for his contribution to literature. He was however unavoidably absent from the ceremony.

A total of 14 esteemed individuals and organisationswere honoured with gold, silver and bronze medals for their outstanding contributions in the fields of literature, science and the arts in Jamaica and the West Indies.

On hand to make the presentations were: Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen; Minister of Education, Rev. the Hon. Ronald Thwaites; Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna; and Fellow of the Institute of Jamaica, the Most Hon. Edward Seaga.

In a citation read by Deputy Chairman of Council, Institute of Jamaica, Ainsley Henriques, Professor Fletcher was credited for revolutionising the induction of labour by using the drug misoprostol, originally used to treat peptic ulcers. This treatment is used internationally and is considered more cost effective and safer than previous methods.

The citation also noted that Professor Fletcher’s research has led to, among other things, the reduction of complications due to pre-eclampsia, a pregnancy induced hypertensive disorder, which is a leading cause of maternal deaths in approximately seven per cent of pregnancies in Jamaica.

Crediting God, his parents and teachers for his accomplishments, Professor Fletcher, said it was an honour to receive the award.

Professor Fletcher, who was responding on behalf of the other awardees, equated his joy at receiving the gold medal to the exuberance displayed by the West Indies cricket team when they won the T20 World Cup last Sunday (October 6).

He congratulated his fellow awardees for excelling in their various fields. He also thanked the Institute “for nominating us and for honouring us in this way” as well as the Jamaica people for their support and their encouragement.

The Silver Musgrave Medal went to Professor Bryan McFarlane for outstanding merit in the field of art and art education; Herbert Morrison Technical High School Band for outstanding merit in the field of music; Calabash International Literary Festival for contribution to literature; John Henry Thompson for his contribution to the field of science; Dr. Pauline Christie for outstanding merit in the field of linguistics; and Cuban Emmanuel ‘Rico’ Rodriguez for his contribution to music.

 Bronze Musgrave Medals were awarded to Dr. Donald Shirley for merit in the field of music; Dr. Ellen Campbell-Grizzle for her contribution to science; Ebony G. Patterson for contribution to art; and Arlene Patricia Ononaiwu for merit in the field of library development.

The Youth Musgrave Medal went to 14-year old Richaydo Farquharson for his achievement in entrepreneurship.

The Musgrave Medals are awarded by the Institute of Jamaica in recognition of notable contributions to literature, science and art in Jamaica and the West Indies.

The award was introduced in 1889 as a memorial to Sir Anthony Musgrave, Governor of Jamaica (1877-1883), who founded the Institute in 1879.