Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, has called for partnerships among governments, pharmaceutical companies and non-governmental agencies to help eliminate Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) which afflict about one billion people across the world.
Former President Kufuor called for urgent need to eliminate the NTDs which mainly affect the poor in Africa, Asia and Latin America, causing blindness, massive swelling in appendages and limbs, severe malnutrition and anemia.
“They are a leading cause of pregnancy complications among women and are a key source of poverty by reducing school attendance among children and worker productivity for adults,” he said.
Former President Kufuor was addressing a forum of major pharmaceutical companies in Europe, government officials in his capacity as Special Envoy of the Coalition of NTDs as part of his tour of Europe to raise awareness on the need for support for NTDs.
In attendance included, representatives from giant pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, Bayer and MSD Sharp Dohme GMBH. Others were from the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the German and British parliaments, among others.
Former President Kufuor said although it costs very little to treat NTDs they do not receive the needed attention from policy makers around the world and urged governments to place them high on their agenda to help cure them.
“With only 50 cents per person per year, for a packet of pills, a whole range of these diseases could be treated and bring relief to many suffering people around the world” he said.
Former President Kufuor takes his advocacy tour to Oslo, Norway,Saturday, 30th September and returns home on Tuesday, 2nd October 2012.