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General News
Carter welcomes reduction in Guinea worm cases in Ghana 4/2/2008

Accra, April 01, GNA - United States former President, Jimmy Carter on Tuesday expressed satisfaction with Ghana''s impressive achievement within a year in combating guinea worm infection.

He said; "With continued diligence, dedication and political will, Ghana could be finally within reach of its long sought goal of recording zero cases of guinea worm disease".

President Carter expressed the sentiments when he visited Ghana to follow up the country''s guinea worm control programme, which the Carter Centre was supporting.

Ghana last year recorded a total of about 3,360 cases, which was described as the fewest number of cases ever reported since it was first reported in 1989 and 195 cases for the first quarter of 2008, about 91 per cent reduction of the previous year.

President Carter, after witnessing horrific guinea worm outbreak in Savelugu when he visited the country last year, expressed dissatisfaction with work done.

He said Ghana currently ranked second to Sudan on the world list and needed to move from that position by working hard for the World Health Organisation (WHO) to declare the nation a guinea worm free country.

"Your neighbouring countries like Togo Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Ethiopia have been declared guinea worm free and from here, we are going to these countries to give them certificates for being certified by WHO and that is what I want to see Ghana becoming in the next few years to come", he said.

A country is declared free after recording zero cases for three successful years after which WHO will certify the country. President Carter cautioned Ghana not be complacent and over-confident with the praise from him but work extra harder, have discipline volunteer corps and the political will to ensure its total eradication.

He noted that the Carter Centre for this year has voted 13 million dollars to the eradication programme and over 100 million dollars world-wide.

He commended the Google.org for supporting the fight in Ghana with total grant of 1.45 million dollars.

Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health who could not hide his joy for the extensive work done commended the media, health workers and volunteers for the collaborative efforts.

He attributed that good work to the collaboration of other ministries, departments and agencies, adding; "initially we all thought fighting guinea worm was a health problem but now that they have all come on board; we are gaining improvement and we hope to achieve our goal by the 2009."

He noted that the water situation in Tamale was improving and work on it was expected to be completed by August this year.

Mr. Esoun Benjamin, Chief Executive of Ghana''s Millennium Development Authority (MiDA) said MiDA had been on board by supporting the expansion of water supply in the Tamale metropolis and its environs to relieve them of their sufferings.
Source: GNA

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