Former Guatemalan president calls for political will to eliminate neglected diseases in the Americas

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The application of political will is necessary to achieve the elimination of neglected diseases in the Americas, noted Álvaro Arzú, former President of Guatemala and Ambassador of Good Will of the Sabin Institute, during a special side event held during the 52nd Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).

“We have the solution to win this battle; we already have the medicines. Now what we need is political will so that these stop being neglected diseases,” said Arzú. The current mayor of Guatemala City added that the Organization of American States (OAS) has already adopted the PAHO resolution calling for the elimination of a group of these diseases by 2015. “This is the beginning of political leadership for the elimination of these diseases, so that we can turn this into a health problem of the past, underscored Arzú.

The event, moderated by Brazil’s Secretary of Health Surveillance Jarbas Barbosa, was opened by PAHO’s Assistant Director, Francisco Becerra Posada, who highlighted recent achievements in the Region of the Americas, such as the elimination of onchocerciasis in Colombia.

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