His Excellency President Dr Julius Maada Bio has received Dr Isatou Touray, former Vice President of The Gambia and Envoy of the Uniting to Combat Tropical Diseases, accompanied by Minister of Health, Dr Austin Demby, to talk about neglected tropical diseases. Presenting the envoy to His Excellency, Dr Demby said that Madam Touray was representing a global consortium to combat neglected tropical diseases, common in low-income populations in developing regions like Africa.
Dr Touray started by congratulating President Bio on his resounding election and expressed how proud she was of the commendable strides his government had continued to make. The envoy disclosed that there was a big focus on Sierra Leone, Tanzania and Senegal, and that these countries had been identified for tangible partnerships to help combat tropical diseases and make other meaningful health interventions. “There is going to be a meeting in Dubai on the 3rd of December, where Heads of State and relevant institutions, like the Ministry of Health and other members of your delegation should be present, and there is a reason for that,” she urged, adding that there, President Bio would be expected to make a strong political statement and also support the financial mobilisation required for the campaign to combat tropical diseases.
The Envoy expressed optimism that Sierra Leone would soon join the 21 African countries that had signed up to the Kigali Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. She noted that the country continued to be recognised globally because of the commendable strides the President had made in health and other sectors, adding that this was the reason for visiting Sierra Leone first, before heading to Senegal and Tanzania.
His Excellency President Bio welcomed the envoy to Sierra Leone and expressed delight that the world had continued to recognise his government’s transformative efforts, including those in the health sector. “Well, thank you very much. We need people like you to continue serving in these positions. I am very delighted that we have been identified as making progress and thanks be to the Minister and his staff. We definitely are committed, or we have found our commitment to those things that we have to do,” he said. The President also affirmed his determination to continue the good work and promised to be in Dubai and help bolster the global partnership required, adding that he was also optimistic about tangible progress, because the former Vice President was actively involved in the campaign. Sierra Leone continues to make progress in combatting tropical diseases. For instance, the tropical disease known as lymphatic filariasis, commonly called elephantiasis, has been eliminated in 15 out of the 16 districts in the country.