Kufuor takes advocacy on NTDs to Norway

Former President John Agyekum Kufuor on Monday briefed members of the Norwegian Parliament on the need to increased support for the seven most Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which afflict about a billion people world-wide.

A statement issued in Accra and signed by Mr Frank Agyekum, Spokesperson to former President Kufuor, said the former President who is the 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.

His advocacy on NTDs to Norway forms part of his second leg of his European tour to create awareness and support for the diseases.

President Kufuor described NTDs as silent killers which afflicted some of the world’s poorest people making them anemic, blind, or paralyzed and thus preventing children from attaining their full potentials in school and adults from being highly productive at the workplace.

Former President Kufuor 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 found in the poorest part of the world.

“All that is needed is 50 cents per individual per year to make these diseases a thing of the past, adding that this is not asking too much and believe if we put our minds to it we can make it happen.”

The list of NTDs currently includes River Blindness, Elephantiasis, Snail Fever, Trachoma, Whip worm, Round worm and Hook worm infections, the statement added.

Present 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.

Former President Kufuor returns home on Tuesday, 2nd October 2012.