Former President John Agyekum Kufuor, has expressed concern about neglected tropical diseases and the rising burden of non-communicable illnesses in Africa and elsewhere around the globe.
He said the phenomena affect especially the “poorest of the poor”.
Mr Kufuor was speaking at the ancient University City of Uppsala on his way to high-level meetings in Stockholm, where he addressed the staff of the influential World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for International Drug Monitoring- the Uppsala Monitoring Centre (UMC).
UMC is dedicated to the global cause of safer medicines and vaccines and improved patient safety.
The former Head of State said although the big three diseases- malaria, TB and HIV and AIDS, attract significant attention and funding, the suffering of about a billion people does not attract significant headlines .
Buruli ulcer, Guinea worm, sleeping sickness, river blindness, yaws, leprosy, trachoma, are amongst the important neglected tropical diseases, while diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic lung diseases, more commonly thought of diseases of Western lifestyles, are becoming a threat to developing communities and economies.
Mr Kufuor who was accompanied by Professor Alexander Nii Oto Dodoo, Chief Executive Officer of John A. Kufuor Foundation, is attending a meeting of the UN Sanitation and Water for All Partnership, of which he is the Chairman.
One of the highest priorities of former President Kufuor is the many tropical diseases that are associated with poor water quality and management and the parallel need for patients everywhere to have access to affordable and safe medicines.
He challenged UMC staff to use their technical and scientific resources to help redress the balance of priorities and to ensure that safety monitoring and safe medicines for neglected tropical diseases are pushed ahead and kept in the public eye.
Mr Kufuor expressed appreciation that the UMC’s sole outreach office in Africa is hosted in Accra.
He said he is also happy about the confidence the body is showing in Ghana’s leadership in improving patient safety and welfare on the continent.