Charlestown recently had the honor of hosting His Excellency Dr. Barfuor Adjei-Barwuah, the 19th Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana to the United States. The Ambassador was a special guest of Charlestown resident Diane Winn, who earlier this year was honored by the Embassy of Ghana for her work in plant medicinal treatment of malaria in the African nation.
Winn has been studying the disease, which affects more than 400 million people each year, and its treatments for more than 50 years. She has made more than 100 trips to the African nation and considers it her second home.
From her primary residence here at Charlestown, Winn continues to advance the work she began with her friend and mentor, the renowned Ghanaian sculptor and physician Dr. Aku Ampofo, through her company Phytica. Its mission is to advance global health while building sustainable businesses, employing Africans in farming, production and management, and raising Africa's standard of living.
Under her leadership, Phytica has successfully put an anti-malarial medicine on the market as a tea bag formulation, and its clinical trials showed that the plant medication lowered fevers within the first 24 hours, and eliminated the parasites from the bloodstream within the first 3 to 5 days, with no adverse side effects.
Now, Winn is involved in efforts to bring other products made from the root of the nibima plant, which has traditionally been used to cure malaria, to the African, American and world markets.
"We were thrilled to welcome the Ambassador to Charlestown," said Clara Parker, the community's Executive Director. "Diane's lifelong commitment to treating malaria and improving the lives of those in Ghana and beyond has always impressed us. Her ongoing efforts and continued accomplishments should be applauded. We are so proud to see Diane continuing to pursue her life's work here at Charlestown and feel fortunate that she has chosen to share her gifts with our community."
Charlestown's Leadership Team was honored to enjoy lunch with the Ambassador in the Fireside dining room, during which Dr. Adjei-Barwuah shared insights on his country's history, economic development, and family and cultural dynamics. He was even generous enough to gift the team with samples of one of Ghana's most famous exports—chocolate. Lunch was immediately followed by a tour of the community, including highlights such as the historic Our Lady of the Angels Chapel.