HL Deb 28 July 1975 vol 363 cc875-6WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Following the report of the mission set up under the auspices of the WHO in July 1970 which was submitted to the Governments of Ghana, the Ivory Coast, Upper Volta, Dahomey. Mali, Niger and Togo in August 1973 on Onchocerciasis (river blindness) its treatment and socio-economic implications, to what extent they are cooperating with the countries concerned and contributing technical assistance (for example, research facilities and finance) to assist the programme sponsored by UNDP. FAO, IBRD and WHO, to eradicate this disease.


The control programme has made a most encouraging start. Under the auspices of the World Health Organisation, several international organisations and bilateral donors are fully co-operating in the efforts to control this scourge in West Africa. The African countries involved are giving their wholehearted co-operation and are playing a full part in the consultations and on-the-ground measures that need to be taken.

This is a long-term programme, to which Her Majesty's Government's financial contribution this year will be 10 per cent. of expenditure; that is, up to £300,000. We have undertaken that, subject to satisfactory progress, our support will continue at least until the end of the first phase in 1979. A wide range of technical assistance is being provided from this country, including scientific expertise, research facilities at universities and other appropriate institutions, and equipment. Britain is also playing a full part in the management committees and expert advisory panels charged with the conduct of the project and on which are represented all the countries and organisations concerned.