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30.05.2007 General News

EU, UNICEF pump 20m Euro in guinea worm fight

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The European Commission and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) have signed a 20 million-Euro agreement to support nine guinea worm endemic districts in the Northern region.

The agreement seeks to support the implementation of projects aimed at eradicating guinea worm from the Northern region through water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

It is also to address the menace by enhancing the capacity of stakeholders towards a responsive approach to the eradication process.

Mr. Filliberto Ceriani Sebregondi, Representative of the EC, said if the project was properly implemented, it would give Ghana the proper tools and implementation strategy needed for the eradication of the disease.

He said the project to start in June would improve the socio-economic development of the affected districts and provide education programmes in the regions.

According to him this shows the willingness of the EU to contribute to the eradication of guinea worm and work with other donor organizations to achieve a common goal.

Mr. Sebregondi said: "Ghanaians must show the determination to implement the strategy so that future generations would not have to suffer the miseries that their parents and grandparents suffered through guinea worm infestation."

He noted that it would also contribute to the overall improvement in family health status and the quality of life of the population in the affected areas, reduce the incidence of guinea worm and other water borne diseases as well as sanitation-related diseases.

Mrs. Liv Elden Djokoto, Acting Representative of UNICEF, said the initiative required an integrated approach and sanitation model that would not only address guinea worm eradication but also prevent water-borne and sanitation related diseases and increase the overall improvement of family health status by the time the project ended in 2011.

She said UNICEF was committed to support its partners to bring guinea worm-free smiles on the faces of the people especially children in the affected areas.

Mr. Christopher Addae, Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing said guinea worm eradication was high on the agenda of the government as Ghana ranked second highest on the world chart after Sudan.

Source: GNA

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