General News of 2012-10-04

Kufuor back from Europe advocacy tour

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has returned home from a three-nation tour of Europe that took him to Switzerland, Germany and Norway; during which he met with policy and law makers, business executives as well as representatives of pharmaceutical companies.

A statement from his Spokesperson, Mr. Frank Agyekum, said the former President also held discussions with former German President Horst Koehlern. At his first stop in Geneva, Former President Kufuor addressed a conference by the Africa Business Initiative and the Swiss Business Council on Africa on leveraging business opportunities in Africa.

His meetings in Berlin and Oslo were in his capacity as Special Envoy of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) where he asked for increased support for the seven diseases which receive the least attention on the global health agenda.

Former President Kufuor said these diseases, which afflict “the poorest of the poor in some of the poorest parts of the world, costs very little to eradicate” and appealed to governments to put them on top of their health agenda in terms of funding and support.

“It takes only 50 cents per person a day for one year to eliminate these diseases which cause anemia, blindness and has debilitating effect on its victims making it impossible for them to work or attain their full potential in school and thus perpetuating the poverty cycle in these communities,” former President Kufuor said.

At a forum with giant pharmaceutical companies, including Merck and Bayer, in Berlin, he called for increased public/private partnership in the fight against River Blindness, Elephantiasis, Snail Fever, Trachoma, Whip worm, Round worm and Hook worm infections which afflict about one billion people in the world.

Former President Kufuor expressed satisfaction with responses from his meetings and said he felt committed to fighting for the eradication of the diseases because he has seen their deadly effects at first hand.