News Lehendakaritza

The Lehendakari receives Dr Manuel Patarroyo

2011 June 3

The Lehendakari and researcher Manuel Patarroyo are studying areas for potential collaboration in development-cooperation projects in Colombia.

They are studying the application of a method for the early detection of uterine cancer in the indigenous Colombian populations with whom the Basque Development Cooperation Agency works. For the past few days Dr Patarroyo, the inventor of the malaria vaccine, has been in Spain, where he has received various awards and recognition for his work in the fight against infectious diseases.

The Lehendakari, Patxi López, and Colombian researcher Dr Manuel Arroyo, a recipient of the prestigious Principe de Asturias Award, met at midday today to examine the possibility of working together through the development-cooperation programs financed by the Basque Government in Colombia.

The meeting took place at the Lehendakaritza and was also attended by Guillermo Echenique, the General Secretary for Overseas Action. Dr Patarroyo had previously met with Marta Ares, the Director of the Basque Development Cooperation Agency, and Iñaki Martinez, the Basque Delegate to Colombia.

The meeting provided an opportunity to explore the possibility of drawing up agreements regarding the application of a new method for the early detection of uterine cancer, developed by Dr Patarroyo. The beneficiaries of the new method would be the indigenous women in Colombia with whom the Basque Development Cooperation Agency works through its aid programs. The new method makes it possible to detect the disease by analysing a single drop of blood, without the need for smear tests, which makes diagnosing the condition a great deal easier in places where there is no healthcare infrastructure. The Basque Development Cooperation Agency is interested in starting up a pilot program that would offer the women in question a complete service, from diagnosis to treatment of the disease.

Colombia is one of the Basque Government's priority countries in terms of development cooperation, and there has already been a great deal of collaboration between Basque development NGO's and their Colombian counterparts.

At present, the Basque Development Cooperation Agency is implementing a total of 17 different projects, with a total budget of almost 5 million euros, in the following areas:

- Education. Deprived urban areas in large cities (Bogota, Cali and Medellín)
- Indigenous communities (artisan projects in Chocó province)
- Local development (Antioquia province)
- Defence of human rights in conflict situations (Bogota and Chocó)
- The empowerment of women (Medellín)


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