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The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) celebrated the 90th Year of arrival of Dr. Hideyo Noguchi in Ghana. The celebration which highlighted the role of the NMIMR in key events such as the outbreaks of HIV/AIDS, H1N1 Pandemic Flu, LASSA fever, Yellow fever and Ebola Virus Disease of recent years took place from the 16th to 17th of November 2017.

The Director of the Institute, Professor Kwabena Mante Bosompem in his opening remarks gave a ray of hope for Noguchi’s research perspective. He said “the NMIMR since its establishment has been pursuing a threefold mandate : to conduct research into communicable and non-communicable diseases; build capacity of the next generation scientists and provide specialized diagnosis and intervention tools in support of public health in Ghana and beyond.

He made the assertion that “the Institute has emerged as a forerunner in the fight against emerging and re-emerging diseases in the West African sub region.

According to Professor Ebenezer Owusu, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, “the destiny of NMIMR and the arrival of Dr. Noguchi’s arrival are intertwined”. He indicated that Dr. Noguchi, even though challenged by limited resources, persevered to become a renowned researcher. ‘This symposium further presents a good opportunity to enhance the existing dynamic cooperation between Ghana and Japan and hoped that the relationship Ghana has with Japan is sustained till “thy Kingdom come”

Professor Ebenezer Owusu

The Deputy Minister for Health Honourable Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu who graced the occasion said that Japan has been one of the largest bilateral partners of Ghana. He said Ghana will forever remain grateful to Dr Hideyo Noguchi “martyr of science” for his dedication and commitment not only to Ghana but the world at large. He again stated that Dr Noguchi Hideyo arrival in Ghana in 1927, brought relief to the people of Ghana with his work, interest and dedication in the area of yellow fever, until his death on May 21, 1928 led to the discovery of yellow fever vaccine. He reiterated that “Ever since this, the Ghana-Japan relation has been growing from strength to strength and we are grateful for that as a country” . 

Honourable Aboagye-Gyedu further indicated that a more intensified effort will be needed to drive the current Government agenda in the health sector.

He said the Japanese Government had assisted the country in the scaling up of CHPS implementation in the Upper East for the past 10 years. The programme focuses on the attainment of the Universal Health Coverage, adding that this support has been extended to the Northern Region.

“The Japanese Government has also been supporting Ghana towards the eradication of Guinea worm, HIV/AIDS prevention and control, and human resource for health development,” he said. 

His Excellency Mr. Kaoru Yoshimura ambassador for Japan emphasized  the need to fight against emerging infectious diseases which are serious threats to human race. He reiterated that more than 100 Japan overseas cooperation volunteers and Japanese experts are in Ghana to support further development.

The Director, Professor Bosompem stressed  the need for the Institute to acquire a next generation sequence. He said NMIMR has advanced in laboratory research and training and  hence its third manndate of developing specialised diagnostic and intervention  tools must be leveraged.  The Institute he emphasized must strengthen that relevance and people must know its indispensability. Stepping forward, He charged that the Institute can become a true leader by developing strategic global Partnerships, take advantage of its true opportunity and should be the hub for research .

There were keynote lectures on the topics: “Dr Hideyo Noguchi and Complement from Cobra Venom factor to Lectin Complement Pathway” and “A Great Scientist, Dr Hideyo Noguchi from Inawashikro to Accra” delivered by Prof. Teizo Fujita, President, Fukushima Prefectural General Hygiene Institute, Fukushima Medical University, Fukushima and Ms. Yukiko Noguchi, Hideyo Noguchi Memorial Foundation, Fukushima.

NMIMR and Partners on a pannel discussion

The Noguchi 90th Anniversary Symposium had the Theme : Arrival of Dr Hideyo Noguchi in the Gold Coast: 90 Years on. The two day symposium had seven scientific sessions including: Historical Perspectives of the Collaboration between Japan and Ghana; Infectious diseases research; Advancing Public Health; and Panel Discussions on – Contributions of the NMIMR and partners to regional preparedness for global health risks, threats and emergencies, Scientific collaborations and socio-cultural perspectives, and NMIMR Research achievements impacting Ghana, the West African Sub-region and beyond.

 

 

 

 

Japanesse Traditional Performance(shisi Odori)

 


 Symposium participants

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana, Legon in partnership with researchers from French National Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and African Centres of Excellence based at the University of Ghana and Benin held a meeting to discuss the issues related to research for development in the West African Sub-region on 14th and 15th November, 2017.The meeting was held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the International Joint Laboratory for the Control of Helminth Infections (LMI-CONSHELM).

The meeting aimed at mobilizing researchers from the network (Benin-Ghana), to participate as major players in the implementation of control/elimination plans for helminth infections at the country and reional levels. The meeting also addressed the sustainability of African Centres of Excellence and the initiative for an African Research Council (ARC), which is a support mechanism being considered for promoting scientific research of excellence in Africa, carried out by African institutions with European support.

Speaking at the meeting H.E. François Pujolas, the French Ambassador  to Ghana recalled the need to promote research in Africa in order to support the development of the continent. He  stated the importance of having a pragmatic approach in solving issues and mentioned the involvement of the Cooperation Service of the French Embassy in Ghana and the French Development Agency (AFD).

He also congratulated IRD for its effort of building the capacity of young scientists for a generational excellence and commended the French Government’s efforts towards the whole initiative and encouraged Africans to adopt change through innovation.

The Director  of NMIMR, Professor Kwabena Bosompem  said the outstanding positioning of the Universityof Ghaan as being a world class university with an intensive research unit implies that the Institute is expected to pay particular attention to community development. " The Millennium Development Goals 8  states the need for developing global partnerships for develpoment and NMIMR, as part of its initiative has also embarked on a journey of  building stategic partnerships" he said. Professor Bosompem reiterated that these partnerships are those that can break barriers into innovation and create platforms into the next level of human society.

 

Professor Kwabena Bosompem (left) and H.E. François Pujolas(right)

 

Professor Nicaise Ndam a representative of IRD spoke on  IRD and its functions. He said IRD supports scientific cooperation,  sets out to understand climate change in order to implement adapted solutions,  to train masters and PhD students as well as  to support committees in research and education works such as the junior team.

He again emphasized  several programme IRD is embarking  which includes assessing the impact of climatic change in some African countries, malaria research programme among others.

 

Professor Nicaise Ndam IRD Representative

 

 Professor Gordon Awandare, Director WACCBIP(left)  and  Professor Eric Dankwa Director WACCI (right)

 

A photo of participants during a plenary section

 

Participants engaged in Laboratory activities.

 

There were plenary discussions with leaders of African Centres of Excellence in Ghana and AFD .

The Participating research institutions included:

  • West Africa Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP)
  • West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI)
  • Institute for Environment and Sanitation Studies (IESS)
  • University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin
Ghanaian and Japanese Researchers Discover New Compounds for Treatment of Major Parasitic Diseases
 Scientists from two Ghanaian institutions - Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) of the University of Ghana and Centre for Plant Medicine Research in collaboration with Kyushu Bunka Gakuen Foundation and National University Co-operation Tokyo Medical & Dental University have discovered a new compound isolated from Morinda lucida. The compound has great potential for treatment and/or prevention of diseases such as malaria, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis.
A patent has since been granted for the invention. The notice of patent grant is duly published in Issue No. 40 of the Commercial and Industrial Bulletin dated Friday, 18th August 2017. The invention involves novel compounds having anti-parasitic properties against the causes of sleeping sickness, cutaneous leishmaniasis and malaria.
This invention is important as any medicine developed from the product will help in the fight against malaria, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis cases and slow down the occurrence of new infections.
In 2015 about 212 million cases of malaria and an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths were recorded. New trypanosomiasis patients (sleeping sickness) in Africa is also estimated between 200,000 and 300,000 per year. Also, trypanosomiasis parasites infect several hundred thousand of cattle, that would serve as protein sources for people, dying from malnutrition every year in Africa. Estimates also show that about 350 million people are at risk of infection of leishmaniasis in over 88 countries across the world.
The researchers have demonstrated that the compounds are of pharmaceutical importance which could help reduce the global incidence of deaths from malaria, trypanosomiasis and leishmaniasis significantly. The present invention relates to novel compounds having a tetracyclic iridoid skeleton which have anti-trypanosomal activity, anti-leishmanial activity and anti-plasmodial activity and an anti-trypanosomal agent, anti-leishmanial agent and anti-plasmodial agent comprising the compound.
We congratulate the inventors, especially the University of Ghana team on this cutting-edge research and for making the University of Ghana proud. This is a remarkable achievement which is in line with the University’s vision to become a world class research-intensive University over the next decade.
 The team of inventors from the University of Ghana are:
  1. Professor Kwabena Mante Bosompem, Department of Parasitology, NMIMR
  2. Professor Kwadwo Ansah Koram, Department of Epidemiology, NMIMR
  3. Professor Daniel Adjei Boakye, Department of Parasitology, NMIMR
  4. Professor Regina Appiah-Opong, Department of Clinical Pathology, NMIMR
  5. Professor Alexander Kwadwo Nyarko, School of Pharmacy
  6. Dr. Irene Ayi, Department of Parasitology, NMIMR 

 Professor Kwabena Bosompem

 

 Professor Kwadwo Koram

 

Professor Daniel Boakye

 

 

Professor Regina Appiah-Opong

 

 Professor Alexander Nyarko

 

 Dr. Irene Ayi

 We will continue to work with the inventors in exploring the commercial viability of this invention. The University of Ghana, Office of Research, Innovation and Development affirms its continuous support to working with all researchers and inventors in advancing their intellectual efforts for the benefit of the inventors, the University and the society at large.
 Source PAD

On Monday October 23rd 2017, Department of Animal Science of the School of Agriculture and the Department of Animal Experimentation of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) held an opening ceremony to fuel a two week International Training course in Laboratory Animal Science. The course is aimed at building the capacity and knowledge of participants in the field of Laboratory Animal Science. This will help Laboratory Animal Scientists have additional knowledge on responsible care, use & handling of animals, obtain some practical skills in administration of substances, as well as various techniques. Dr. Thomas Nortey, Chief Coordinator of the workshop revealed this during his welcome address. He also thanked his coordinating team members; Dr. Samuel Adjei and Dr. Ayizanga for the effort in making this training course a reality.

Prof. Kwabena Bosompem Director, (NMIMR) expressed his immense joy and appreciation of the training course. He said that the Institute has since the 1990s been a major producer of anti-snake serum for the Ghana Health Service. Prof Bosompem indicated that the training will bring an opportunity in developing proper animal care and control of the frequent outflow of animal diseases to man and from Man to animals. In addition, the director of NMIMR encouraged the need to create a common system of mass control of infections within Ghana.

Prof

(from left) Professor Kwabena Bosompem, Professor George Obeng-Adjei & Prof. Dr. Vera Bauman

Director of the Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID) also commended the team for this training opportunity. He said that the various research conducted by NMIMR has always been of high interest to ORID. He said “we lack phase 1 trials basically due to lack of infrastructure which we are hopeful to work on in the future.”

The Chairman of the research ethics committee of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences (CBAS) of the University of Ghana, stated that research continues to play major roles in human lives and hence the need to pay particular attention to it. He said that the ethics committee for CBAS was set up and inaugurated on Wednesday 28th January 2015, following the approval of the ORID management board to set up ethics committee for the various qualities within the University of Ghana. According to him the committee was set up in prior mandate of the University’s policy on the use of humans and non-humans for research. It monitors the ethical nature of research in teaching undertaken by faculty of CBAS in respect of animals used for teaching and experimentation.

The leader of the team of experts from University of Utretcht, Natherlands, Prof. Dr. Vera Bauman, said they were excited to be in Ghana to offer this training an urged the course participants to take advantage of this opportunity to advance the course of appropriate use of animals in research.

Laboratory Animal scientists at the two weeks workshop

STAPHRICA and AFRISTAPHNET are two hitherto independent consortia that came together to form a consolidated network with the following objectives:

  1. To establish a network of researchers working on S. aureus in Africa;
  2. To develop human capacity in the identification, antibiotic susceptibility testing, sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis of S. aureus in Africa; 
  3. To conduct a retrospective study on the genomic epidemiology of S. aureus in Africa;
  4. To set up a prospective surveillance study on S. aureus disease in Africa; and
  5. To obtain funding to support research projects conducted by the Network.

The first kick-off meeting took place at the University of Ghana, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, and brought together biomedical scientists and physicians with research focus on Staphylococcus aureus from ten African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique, South-Africa, Uganda, Kenya and Gambia), and the United Kingdom (UK). The meeting presented a platform for the researchers to:

  1. Share current research work on S. aureus;
  2. Plan a training course/programme on laboratory identification, antibiotic susceptibility testing, sequencing and bioinformatic analysis of S. aureus;
  3. Plan a retrospective study on the molecular epidemiology of S. aureus in Africa, based on existing human and animal isolate collection;
  4. Plan a prospective surveillance study of S. aureus in Africa, using whole-genome sequencing (WGS);
  5. Identify funding opportunities to support the network and research projects; and
  6. Plan a review article that will position the network in the scientific community.

The meeting was characterized with lively discussions and relevant contributions from participants. A major highlight of the meeting was the merger of the two consortia into a new entity; StaphNetAfrica: www.staphnetafrica.org

 

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