Category Archives: john a. kufuor

NTDs are on a Roll in Sweden


Former President of Ghana John Kufuor speaks at World Water Week. (Photo by Worldwaterweek)

Former President of Ghana John Kufuor speaks at World Water Week. (Photo by Worldwaterweek)

What do you call a room full of the world’s leading water and toilet specialists? A Charmin group!

Last week, His Excellency John Kufuor, President of Ghana (2001-2009), travelled to Sweden to meet with such a group at the Stockholm International Water Institute’s (SIWI) World Water Week, an annual week-long conference that has been the focal point for the globe’s water issues since 1991. As the Global Network’s Special Envoy for NTDs and Chair of Sanitation and Water for All (SWA), President Kufuor represented the dual (and closely connected) issues of NTDs and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

As I highlighted last week, poor communities typically lack access to the essential protective measures of clean water, sanitation facilities and soap for good hygiene, leaving them at much higher risk of coming into contact with NTDs or the insects that spread them. As a result, NTDs continue to keep communities poor and without sufficient access to clean water and sanitation.

For this reason, the Global Network was thrilled to join President Kufuor as he worked to increase awareness about the vital links between NTDs and WASH. In partnership with the Global Network and SWA, he encouraged strong political will to support NTD and WASH initiatives and called for heightened collaboration between the two communities. President Kufuor acted as a powerful voice for NTDs and WASH during his remarks at the Stockholm World Water Prize Seminar, the Africa Day ministerial session, and at several other events throughout the week, and was also praised in the media for his efforts to help the world’s poorest communities.

In his remarks at the Stockholm World Water Prize Seminar, which celebrated Dr. Peter Morgan as the 2013 Water Prize Laureate, President Kufuor stated, “I am confident that improving access to clean water and sanitation and fighting diseases, such as roundworm, hookworm and snail fever, are among the best investments governments can make.”

Beyond his official duties at the conference itself, President Kufuor conducted several high level meetings with representatives from the Swedish and French governments to discuss how they can leverage their investments in water initiatives to simultaneously tackle NTDs.

The Global Network thoroughly enjoyed collaborating with SWA at World Water Week and hopes that this initial partnership will soon lead to substantial improvements for the 1.4 billion people who have NTDs and the astounding 2.5 billion people who lack access to basic sanitation.

It was another busy week for the Global Network but there is still much more work to do; good thing we are not pooped out yet!


En Garde! The Fight against NTDs Returns to Belgium



Picture by Antoine Motte dit Falisse

The Belgian Foreign Affairs Committee was delighted on Wednesday, June 26th to receive Dr. Neeraj Mistry, Managing Director of the Global Network. Neeraj was invited by the Committee to present on the global impact of NTDs and the solutions now available to control or eliminate the seven most common NTDs by the end of the decade. The presentation marked Neeraj’s second visit with the Belgian committee, after he and President Kufuor had lunch with the Foreign Affairs Committee members in March during the Global Network’s winter advocacy trip to Belgium and France.

Belgium has already had an important impact on the fight against NTDs. From 1974 through today, Belgium has consistently contributed to the Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) and its successor, the African Programme for Onchocerciasis Control (APOC). The OCP and APOC are credited with restoring 25 million hectares of land previously infested with the black flies that transmit onchocerciasis―enough land to feed 17 million people each year!  Belgium is also carrying out a long-term sleeping sickness control program in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, investing in public-private partnerships for NTD R&D, and has highlighted the importance of addressing NTDs in its official global health policy note.

The Global Network is delighted to see the Belgian Foreign Affairs Committee take interest in expanding Belgium’s commitments to NTDs, and hopes that we can continue to work together to see the end of these diseases by 2020.

Kufuor Calls for Government Support to End NTDs

Last week, the Huffington Post and news outlets across Africa published an op-ed by His Excellency John A. Kufuor, former president of Ghana (2001-2009) and the NTD Special Envoy for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases. In the piece, Kufuor describes the huge burden of NTDs in Africa and around the world and discusses the work that needs to be done to end suffering caused by these diseases.

As we mentioned last week, this month marks the one year anniversary of the London Declaration, a time for the global health community to reflect on the progress made in the fight against NTDs and what remains to be done.

“I know that the path is not always easy. Ghana, my home country, suffers from five of these diseases, and as recently as 1989 recorded nearly 190,000 cases of Guinea worm,” says Kufuor in his op-ed. “In 2007, we committed ourselves to eliminating several NTDs – and with strong political commitment, increased resources and international support, we conquered blinding trachoma in 2009 and Guinea worm in 2011. Ghana’s work continues, but its future is bright.”

As reported on, Nigeria will be launching its own national plan to control and eliminate in NTDs on February 7.