From Accra, Ghana – 1


On March 7th, I left Paris, flew via London to land Accra, the capital city of Ghana, at 10pm.  Accra is located at ‘Latitude 4゜33’00’’ North, Longitude 0゜12’00’’ West’ , an equatorial position, almost ‘0, 0’.  The instant I was out of the aircraft, I felt a very, very, ‘hot, sultry’ air.  ‘La Palm Royal Beach Hotel’ that stands besides the coastline, is the venue of the meeting and also our accommodation.

This visit is to serve as the Chair of ‘Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize Symposium’.  The Prize was inaugurated two years ago as the first and only prize under the auspices of the government of Japan.  We had the honor of the presence of HIH Crown Prince of Japan at the symposium.  I understand that this is his first visit to Sub-Sahara.  The winners of the inaugural Award, Drs Greenwood and Were also participated.

Mr. Yohei Sasagawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation who is hopping all over the world tirelessly and Professor Kiyoshi Kita of University of Tokyo also joined with us.  It’s been a long time since I saw Dr Kita last time – a nice and encouraging reunion.

On 8th, I had discussion with NIH Fogerty Program, Japanese delegates of Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Health, JICA, etc., Professor Nobuo Oota of Tokyo Medical and Dental University with other Japanese scientists working at Noguchi Institute, some of African experts participating this Symposium and so on to discuss and draft possible inputs to the agenda on ‘Global Health’ of the G8 Summit which will be held in Canada this year.

At the Davos meeting of January this year, Prime Minister Harper stated that ‘Maternal and Child Health’  be an agenda of his G8 Summit.  Japan has been making a great contribution in this area (‘Global Health’) since it set the foundation of Global Fund at the 2000 Okinawa Kyusyu G8 Summit as the host, and again its follow ups at the 2008 Toyako Summit.  Especially when we take into account the fact that this year’s Summit may be the last ‘G8 Summit’ along with the poor progress of MDGs, I am but concerned how ‘Global Health’ will develop after the ‘G8 Summit’….

In the evening, a reception was held welcoming the two Laureates, participants from Africa, Ghana, Japanese delegates from Cabinet Administration Office (Naikakufu), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, JICA, etc.   Anyway, the hot, soggy climate here is overwhelming.  I sweated all the time.