Ghana, Cuba to join forces in malaria fight

The Vice President of the Republic, H.E. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has reiterated government’s desire to eradicate malaria and other mosquito-transmitted diseases which lead to significant numbers of deaths in Ghana and costs Africa billions of dollars in lost productivity.

The Ghana Government will therefore renew discussions with the Government of Cuba for the establishment of a Biolarvicide factory at Savelugu in the Northern Region for the control of pests and mosquito transmitted diseases to serve the country and the West African subregion.

Dr Bawumia made the pledge when a high powered Cuban delegation, led by H.E Mrs Mercedes Lopez Acea, Vice President of the Council of State of Cuba, and including Hon Mrs Ana Teresita Gonzalez, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cuba, called on him at the Flagstaff House, Accra on Monday February 12, 2018.

Official statistics from ECOWAS show that in Africa, malaria kills more people than all the wars on the continent, combined with a child dying every 30 seconds from the scourge. Furthermore, the disease accounts for around 40% of public health expenditure in endemic countries.

“The malaria programme in Savelugu in Northern Ghana is an area that Ghana wants to see the proposals come to fruition for the malaria control programme. Deaths from malaria are avoidable, and we want this facility to help eradicate it not just in Ghana but the whole of West Africa, if not the entire continent” Dr Bawumia stated.

Recalling the longstanding relations between the two countries, which began in 1959, Vice President Bawumia underscored Ghana’s appreciation of Cuba’s support for various sectors of Ghanaian society including the efforts of the Cuban Medical Brigade Assistance Programme, which has doctors and other health personnel working in very remote areas in Ghana.

Over 3,000 Ghanaian students have also benefitted from training in Cuba, many of whom have since been contributing their quota to national development.

The Vice President, who is also Head of Ghana’s Economic Management team, welcomed interest expressed by the Cuban business community in adding value to Ghana’s cocoa.
“We know that the Cuban business community has expressed an interest in Ghana’s cocoa beans. We believe that if Ghana and Cuba cooperate, we can add value to Ghana’s cocoa sector.”

Mrs Mercedes Lopez Acea commended Ghana’s leading role in ensuring peace and stability in the West Africa subregion, and called on officials of the two countries to expand and deepen areas of cooperation for mutual benefit.

“We are proud that we have trained over three thousand Ghanaian students, who are now playing key roles in Ghana’s development. We are also very proud of the achievements of the Cuban Medical Brigade, some of who have been in Ghana for over 15 years. I believe we can explore other areas of mutual benefit,” Mrs Lopez Acea indicated.
The delegation was accompanied by Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hon Mohammad Habibu Tijani and Ghana’s Ambassador to Cuba, Amb. Napoleon Abdulai.

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