A seven-nation joint co-ordinating committee on the fly-borne disease onchocerciasis, or river blindness, began a two-day meeting in Abidjan on Tuesday (11 February).
GV Conference building
SV INT Delegates seated (2 shots)
SV President Houphouet-Boigny sitting down
SV President Houphouet-Boigny seated
SV Candau speaks and delegates applaud
SV Dr. Quenum speaks and delegates look on (3 shots)
SV President Houphouet-Boigny speaking, delegates applaud (2 shots)
Initials BB/1755 FC/MR/BB/1533
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Background: A seven-nation joint co-ordinating committee on the fly-borne disease onchocerciasis, or river blindness, began a two-day meeting in Abidjan on Tuesday (11 February).
Ivory Coast's President Felix Houphouet-Boigny, who presided at the inaugural session, said the disease had "assumed alarming proportions". It is estimated that one million people in the seven countries in the Volta Basin suffer from the disease, of whom about 70,000 area completely blind.
The President pledged his country's support to the campaign aimed at destroying the carrier -- blackflies -- in Ivory Coast, Mali, Dahomey, Ghana, Upper Volta, Niger and Togo.
Other speakers included Dr. Alfred Quenum, Director of W.H.O's Regional office in Africa and Dr. Marcolino Candau, Chairman of the Committee.
The Committee was set up in Paris last June to manage a 20-year programme, costing 120 million dollars (about 52 million pounds sterling), to fight the disease.
Representatives of the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (U.N.D.P.), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (F.A.O.) and the World Health Organisation (W.H.O.) also attended.