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Ghana, Brazil Discuss $13.66m Grant For Blood, Sickle Cell Centre   
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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has begun talks with the Brazilian government for the reactivation of the US$13.66 million grant facility signed in 2010 for the construction of a blood and sickle cell centre at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.

The facility was signed between the two countries for the construction of the facility, which was expected to include a blood transfusion centre and an out-patient clinic for sickle cell and other blood related diseases, but was not implemented as planned.

In a meeting with the outgoing Brazilian Ambassador to the country, Irene Vida Gala, yesterday, President Akufo-Addo appealed to the Brazilian government to reactivate the grant facility.

He said the necessary documents had already been signed and entreated the outgoing Brazilian Ambassador to take up the matter and help Ghana to secure the grant.

When the project was signed seven years ago, an eight-member delegation of government officials and technical experts from Brazil came to Ghana to witness the groundbreaking ceremony for the project.

Under the agreement, the Brazilian government was expected to expand the national newborn screening programme by upgrading the screening laboratory, train the technical personnel, develop the educational and training prgrammes in the sickle cell disease and provide supplies for the initial expansion of the national screening programme.

President Akufo-Addo told the Brazilian Ambassador that the government was committed to fighting the sickle cell disease because it was a major health concern in the country.

“It is a problem we want to take up as a government. We need to enhance our capacity to detect the disease especially in new borns,” he said.
The President expressed his government’s readiness to help address the obstacles that stalled the project and appealed to the Brazilian government to renew its commitment to the facility.

He said the cordial relationship between Brazil and Ghana was given a big impetus by former President John Agyekum Kufour and former President Lula Da Silva of Brazil and indicated many construction projects in the country had been executed by Brazilian companies.

“We will continue the path of deepening the relationship with Brazil. We are grateful for your stay here in the country and we are very grateful for your energy and enthusiasm. We can see around us, the quality of your work.”

“The relationship (between Ghana and Brazil) is very dear to my heart and the people of Ghana and we are going to do whatever we can to strengthen it,” he said.

On her part, Ms Gala thanked Ghanaians for their hospitality and urged the government to “renew the diplomatic relationship between the two countries at the highest level”.

According to Ms Gala, the relationship between the two countries deepened during her tenure as Ambassador and noted that the number of Brazilians in Ghana had increased from 50 to over 600 in the last five years.

In a related development, the outgoing Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Ghana, Heshan Meshaal Al Sowilem also paid a courtsey call on President Akufo-Addo.

He said he had personally adopted Ghana as his second home due to the hospitality nature of the people and urged the government to continue to work towards deepening the cordial relationship between the two countries.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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