Kufour takes advocacy on Neglected Tropical Diseases to Norway

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Accra, Oct 2, GNA – Former President John Agyekum Kufuor Monday briefed members of the Norwegian Parliament on the need for increased support for the seven most Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which afflict about one billion people world-wide, half of whom are children. A statement from his Spokesperson, Mr Frank Agyekum, said President Kufuor described NTDs as silent killers which afflicted some of the world’s poorest people. It makes them anaemic, blind, or paralyzed and prevent children from attaining their full potentials in school and adults from being highly productive at the workplace. President Kufuor, Special Envoy for the Global Network of NTDs, was speaking to members of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense of the Norwegian Parliament on the second leg of his European advocacy tour to create more awareness and support for the diseases. The former President commended Norway for their lead role in support of the NTDs but said a more concerted effort was needed between public and private institutions to help to eradicate the diseases. He said all that is needed is 50 cents per individual per year to make these diseases a thing of the past. “This is not asking too much and I believe if we put our minds to it we can make it happen,” he said of the fight against river blindness, elephantiasis, snail fever, trachoma, whip worm, round worm and hook worm. Those at the meeting included Ms Marie Erikson Soreide, Chair of the Standing Committees on Foreign Affairs, Mr Dagfinn Haybraten, Parliamentary Leader of the Christian Democratic Party and Chair of GAVI, a public-private global health partnership committed to saving children’s lives through immunization and Ms Eva Kristin Hansen, Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense. Before coming to Oslo, former President Kufuor had interacted with members of the German Parliament and pharmaceutical companies in Berlin on the need for public/private partnership in the push for total elimination of NTDs. He also held discussions with former German President Horst Kohler, on varied world issues including the NTDs.

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