New Research Center Opens in Ghana
New Infectious Disease Laboratory Will Significantly Advance Health Research on Malaria and Waterborne Diseases for West Africans
New Research Centre Represents an Important Investment in African Medical Research
ACCRA, GHANA—An important public-private partnership between Vestergaard Frandsen, a European company working in public health, and the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research (NMIMR) at the University of Ghana resulted today in the opening of a new Research Centre at the University of Ghana. Scientists at the new facility will conduct research and share knowledge leading to infectious disease control solutions in West Africa and beyond.
The primary goal of this public-private partnership is to strengthen research and development of public health tools addressing malaria and waterborne diseases. This research facility will provide opportunities for Ghanaian researchers and academics from across West Africa to visit Ghana’s premier university and join arms in the fight against infectious diseases.
“The new Research Centre is an excellent demonstration of a public-private partnership that will not only progress the science of public health and build capacity, but also help tackle the many diseases that affect us,” said the Honorable Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister of Health for the Republic of Ghana.
Research and development activities will take place in a newly constructed facility on the NMIMR campus. The two-story Research Centre contains insectaries housing three mosquito and one fly colony, two large bioassay laboratories for conducting standard tests such as those developed by the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A new molecular biology lab will assist in providing a wide range of tests from identifying mosquito species to characterizing the type of insecticide resistance present. By studying the fly colonies, scientists will hopefully be able to develop next-generation tools to better protect food crops from the time they leave farms to when they arrive at food distribution warehouses.
The University’s Department of Parasitology will share the facility to conduct its own malaria control research. The Ghanaian National Malaria Control Programme will use the new Research Centre to test the durability of existing bed nets, new long-lasting insecticidal bed nets, and conduct research on the efficacy of novel pesticides for malaria control.
The facility will also house a water research laboratory where technicians will test prototype water purification systems that prevent diarrheal and other waterborne diseases. Both laboratory and field research will be performed at the Research Centre, and results will be published in peer-reviewed journals.
“We are honored to partner with the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research at the University of Ghana to support mutually beneficial research and development of tools to fight infectious disease in West Africa,” said Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO and owner of Vestergaard Frandsen. “Together we can improve the health of Ghanaians and all West Africans by increasing knowledge and creating next generation tools to fight disease.”
The new facility will be used to enhance the training mandate of the University of Ghana’s School of Public Health, allowing students to conduct undergraduate and graduate-level research under the supervision of esteemed professors from NMIMR. By investing in capacity building, the Research Centre will help train the next generation of West African entomologists to better address the increasingly complex field of malaria research.
The Research Centre will also be a base for continuing education for scientists from across the West African region. Experts will come from abroad to share knowledge, and receive additional training. Most knowledge sharing programs will be led by scientists from NMIMR and the School of Public Health.
Small workshops will be held at the Research Centre on critical findings that will allow for rapid dissemination of knowledge to the public health community in Ghana and the region. Professors, students and researchers from the University of Ghana will use these forums to share ideas on disease control and test them using the tools available at the Research Centre. Many of these ideas may be translated into programmes and/or tools that government agencies and NGOs can use to control infectious diseases in Africa and beyond.
Vestergaard Frandsen (VF) is a European company that operates under a unique “humanitarian entrepreneurship” business model, dedicated to creating and deploying technologies that improve the health of people in developing countries. This approach has turned corporate social responsibility into its core business, including strong support of the MDGs. VF’s products are designed to prevent waterborne, vector-borne and neglected tropical diseases. For more information about the company please visit www.vestergaard-frandsen.com.
The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research is a semi-autonomous institute of the University of Ghana, Legon. Founded in 1979, the Institute is the result of joint efforts by Professor E. O. Easmon, Dean of the University of Ghana Medical School, Professor Kenji Honda of the Fukushima Medical School in Japan, and the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA). The original facilities of NMIMR were built with an aid grant from the Government of Japan as a gift to the people and Government of Ghana in memory of the renowned Japanese medical scientist Dr. Hideyo Noguchi. For more information about the NMIMR please visit: http://www.noguchimedres.org