President Akufo-Addo (Right) interacting with Michael Sidibe (2nd Left) Exercutive Director of UNAIDS and a member of the delegation
President Akufo-Addo has stressed the need to restructure the economy of Ghana to open more opportunities for local manufacturers, particularly pharmaceutical companies.
At a meeting with the Executive Director of the United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibe, at the Flagstaff House on Friday as part of efforts to help reduce the spread and prevalence of the dreaded virus on the African continent while appreciating the work of the organisation, the president said, “The development of our pharmaceutical industry, especially the local manufacturing and production of drugs, including the anti-retroviral drugs is a key commitment of our party that we made as part of the whole programme of industrial growth.”
“We are going to make a determined effort in this four years to try and reverse the structure of the Ghanaian economy and we’ve chosen the pharmaceutical industry as one of the key growth points in the programme that we have,” the president..
He stressed his government’s commitment to the UNAIDS call for more local involvement in the production and manufacturing of drugs that deal with HIV/AIDS and other diseases, saying, “It is something that falls squarely within our own plans and to that extent it’s important to have your endorsement.”
For him, “The idea that in the ECOWAS region, three out of four who are subject to the virus don’t have access to treatment, that is a totally unacceptable set of facts and I think that whatever is required to be done to improve those statistics, it’s incumbent on us to do it.”
“These are not statistics that cannot also be allowed to just fester as statistics on paper that every now and then we’ll meet…there is a requirement that we do something and change so that the statistics can get in a better direction and Ghana’s leadership on this matter within ECOWAS, on the board is something that we are going take very seriously,” he assured.
President Akufo-Addo has since pledged his government’s support for the activities and operations of the UNAIDS, whilst mentioning with emphasis that “the work that you are doing is work that we all us have to support with all the passion and resources at our disposal.”
Aside that, he indicated, “It’s fortuitous for us that we have come in at a time that Ghana having a force to play in the international a frontline roll in the struggle; we now the chair of the programme coordination board.”
For him, “That imposes certain obligations on us and I’m confident that we are going to discharge it because we recognise the significance of the work that we have to do.”
On his part, Executive Director of UNAIDS Progrramme, Michel Sidibe, commended President Akufo-Addo for his commitment to run an accountable and transparent government.
In all, he indicated, “We cannot talk about fighting against HIV/AIDS without all those ingredients; AIDS have been able to show us only one thing. When you are not inclusive, you are losing; when you are not transparent, it’s not working, when you are not thinking redistribution, you cannot win.”
He expressed worry about the fact that only three percent of the medicines that are consumed are produced in this part of the world and the fact that in this day and age (2017) people should give birth to children with HIV/AIDS.
The UNAIDS boss, thus, appealed to the president to show leadership in helping to curb HIV/AIDS whilst pledging his own support for the government and people of Ghana.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu