Category: Health & Lifestyle Created on Tuesday, 26 June 2012 08:53 Published Date Written by GNA Hits: 288
Accra, June 25, GNA - The current global agenda for research and development of new medicines do not adequately meet the needs of countries that bear the largest burden of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).
Ghana's Health Minister Mr Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin who made the observation also noted that serious lack of new medicines for the neglected diseases primarily affects populations with little purchasing power offering insufficient incentive for the pharmaceutical industry to invest in.
He said the problem was not only the development of effective medicines but involves research into ways in which people suffering from neglected diseases could be reached, managed and protected from further challenges including rehabilitation and restoration of income.
The Health Minister made observations when he addressed the opening session of a three-day Regional Consultative Stakeholders meeting in Accra on Monday.
The meeting being attended by over 100 participants from endemic African region included pharmaceutical firms, donor agencies, technical experts, policy makers and senior officials of the World Health Organisation (WHO) who would discuss ways of scaling up interventions to control or eliminate NTDs in WHO Africa Region.
Participants would discuss and agree on coordinate mechanisms at national and regional levels for NTD programme implementation, and the major elements that would constitute the regional road-map for accelerating control and elimination of NTDs in endemic countries.
The meeting would obtain stakeholders' commitment for funding the implementation of NTD programme, and exchange experiences on the use of country master plans for decision making regarded NTD control.
Mr Bagbin noted that the research agenda could only be developed and effectively implemented by those who were at the forefront of the NTD challenge.
“As endemic countries, we must take advantage of available opportunities to improve and extend coverage of our control and elimination activities.”
He welcomed the recent announcement of Former President John Agyekum Kuffuor as the Global Ambassador and Advocate for NTDs, describing it as “Yet another step towards building on the global profile of NTDs and places Ghana and Africa appropriately to take advantage of the current goodwill generated across all sectors”.
Mr Bagbin expressed the fact that Ghana had seen phenomenal increase in advocacy and awareness on NTDs with improved support for disease control programme implementation, citing Guinea Worm and Trachoma, which the country is on the verge of eradicating.
He announced government’s contribution of GHc1.8 million towards the prevention and control of endemic NTDs, and to ensure that not only were there achievements in the eradication of Guinea Worm and the elimination of Trachoma but also finding solutions to other equally worrying diseases such as buruli ulcer.
Professor John Gyapong, Pro-Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana in-charge of Research and Development, called for an effective national guidance for endemic countries to help manage, control and put in place resources to address NTDs.
He noted that technical support was critical to get the desired goals achieved and commended partners for the support so far given to ensuring the elimination of NTDs.
Prof. Gyapong called for the mobilisation of political support by having more political ambassadors to serve as advocates to achieve the desired WHO goals set by 2020.
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