A Network for Health – Ghanaian Scientist Talks with Merkel about Neglected Tropical Diseases

Feb 22 '17

Dr. John Amuasi, the first director of the African Research Network on Neglected Tropical Diseases, is attending the "International German Forum" today and talks to the Chancellor about his research and the challenges Africa faces in dealing with neglected tropical diseases.

For winning the fight against NTDs the availability of the apt drugs is vital. Here John Amuasi talks to a pharmacist in Kumasi. (Photo: Jean-Rivel Fondjo)

For winning the fight against NTDs the availability of the apt drugs is vital. Here John Amuasi talks to a pharmacist in Kumasi. (Photo: Jean-Rivel Fondjo)

At the Third International German Forum experts from 25 countries, from the realms of politics, science and research and civil society, will be meeting at the Federal Chancellery to discuss ways of improving the quality of life and health. The 120 or so participants will be discussing the main issues "Using the opportunities offered by information and communication technologies", "Improving the way we use antibiotics", "Combating neglected tropical diseases", and "Mental health – overcoming the taboo". On 22 February, Chancellor Angela Merkel will be talking in a round with four experts on these topics – one of them is Dr. John Amuasi (Livestream of the Forum at 2:30 pm). Amuasi is the first director of the African Research Network on Neglected Tropical Diseases (ARNTD) and has been involved in the fight against Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) since he has been a student. Worldwide, more than one billion people suffer from one or more NTDs. These diseases occur primarily in tropical and subtropical regions, where medical care is often deficient and health care systems are weak. The bodily damage and disabilities caused by NTDs are mostly permanent, and this frequently causes substantial social and economic problems, such as unemployment and poverty that affect entire families. To fight NTDs, good preventive measures, effective diagnostic methods, treatment and research are essential. Therefore, the ARNTD supports evidence-based control and elimination of neglected tropical diseases from Africa by empowering current and future generations of African researchers and bringing the researchers together with political decision makers. Dr. John Amuasi will speak with the Federal Chancellor about his experiences and insights and strengthen the attention as well as the commitment to this topic.

The building of a NTD network started with the Africa Initiative of the Volkswagen Foundation in 2005. Working in cooperation with four European partners, in 2007 the Volkswagen Foundation initiated a program called the European Foundation Initiative for African Research in Neglected Tropical Diseases (EFINTD). Over the five-year course of the project, the program allocated 4.5 million euros to fund 23 postdocs and six scholarships for research stays. Towards the end of the funding period, at the request of the African researchers, the foundations developed a strategy to consolidate and expand on the successful capacity building experience.

A detailed report on the work and progress of Dr. John Amuasi has been published in the last "Crossing Borders", the English-language foundation magazine.