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A five-day workshop has been organised by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, Ghana (AIMS-Ghana) in collaboration with the H3AbioNet Node of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana.

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As part of the the  workshop Professor Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey, a renowned Ghanaian Mathematician and Scientist has been inducted as Fellow of the Nigerian Mathematical Society (NMS).

The award was in recognition of Prof. Allotey’s outstanding contributions towards the advancement of mathematics, science and technology in Africa and across the globe.

Other recipients of the 2017 NMS Fellows Award alongside Prof Allotey, were three eminent Nigerian Mathematicians and Scientists; namely Professors: Jerome Ajayi Adepoju, Alexander O. E. Animalu and Iheanyichukwu Sylvester Iwueze. the award was presented by Prof Ninuola Akinwande, President,of the Nigerian Mathematical Society.

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                               Professor F. K. Allotey

Prof. Allotey was educated at the Roman Catholic Elementary School, Saltpond; the Ghana National College, Cape Coast; the Tutorial College, London; Borough Polytechnic (now University of South Bank), London; Imperial College of Science and Technology, London and Princeton University in the United States.

He was appointed lecturer at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and rose through the ranks to become the first Ghanaian Full Professor in Mathematics and Head of the Department of Mathematics in 1973. While at the KNUST, he held a number of positions such as Dean of the Faculty of Science, Founding Director of the Computer Science Centre in Ghana, Pro-Vice Chancellor and member of the KNUST University Council. Prof Allotey has also held several other local and international appointments such as being appointed by the UN Secretary-General to be among a group of 12 international experts commissioned to advise the UN on Nuclear Weapon.

 

Receiving the Award, an elated Prof Allotey thanked the NMS President, Executive Council and Members for the honour done him.“I also thank the delegation of the Nigerian Mathematical Society, who have travelled from Nigeria to bestow this honour on Ghana,” he added.

Prof Allotey, who is also the President, AIMS – Ghana, said the developing countries of today were slowly waking up to the realisation that in the final analysis, creation, mastery, utilisation of modern science and technology was basically what distinguished the developing countries from the advanced countries. He said the widening gap in economies and influence between the nations of the South and the North was essentially a manifestation of the science and technology gap.“I wish to press here that we need both pure science and technology adding while science helps to advance the frontiers of knowledge, technology helps to advance the frontiers of economic wealth. Both are needed for our national development,” Prof Allotey stated.“Mathematics is the foundation and sine qua non for the understanding the nature of modern science and technology,” he added. He said without mathematical training, Africa would be unable to access the full power of technologies to solve their countries’ numerous problems.

He urged African youth to learn to contribute significantly by researching into extension of knowledge in Mathematical Sciences.

 

Professor Akinwande congratulated Prof. Allotey and the other recipients of the NMS Fellow Awards for being mathematicians and scientists of international standing with distinguished achievements

He wished the Awardees longer life of continuous services to humanity in general and worthy of contributions to the advancement of Mathematical Science.

He said Mathematics was the driving force for meaningful Scientific, Economic, Agricultural and Technological breakthroughs and advancement and so should be given all the support needed for scholarship.

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Prof. Kwadwo Koram and Dr. Anita Ghansah from NMIMR congratulating Prof. Allotey

Professor Kwadwo Ansah Koram, the Director, NMIMR, hailed Prof Allotey for bringing honour to mother Ghana.

On the workshop, Prof Koram said it was aimed at introducing an interdisciplinary audience to the important concepts in genetics and population genetics that were relevant to complex disease association studies and data analysis.

 

Dr. Gaston K. Mazandu, IDRC Research Chair, AIMS Ghana and South Africa, said participants at the workshop would also be introduced to the potential of GWAS and to key considerations in designing and performing association studies for mapping disease genes.

 

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Participants of the workshop in a group photograph.

Source:GNA

A three day workshop to train  Administrative Assistants in Office Practice Management was organized by the Director, Prof. Kwadwo Koram and Management of the Institute.

The  objective  of the workshop was to improve participants’ writing  skills to suit specific communicative situations such as: letter writing, report writing, minutes writing, etc.
In his opening remarks, Prof Koram mentioned the need for such training was necessitated by a request to train two administrative assistants at University of Professional Studies in the a fore mentioned areas. Thus he then decided to train the majority in order to ensure efficient administrative work output for the whole Institute.

The workshop was facilitated by Professor Gordon S. K Adika Director, Language Centre from the University of Ghana. Prof. Adika took the participants through how to demonstrate awareness of levels of formality in writing and the impact of violations; appreciate the importance of organisation in writing and how to master the use of coherence markers within and across paragraphs.

Professor Gordon Adika

 The participants also learnt how to master specific linguistic forms and structures that characterise writing letters, minutes and reports.There was also  a peer review session and participants were encouraged to share the lessons learnt among themselves.

Certificates and an Oxford Advanced Learners’ Dictionary were awarded to all participants at the end of the workshop.

Professor Koram handing over the certificate to Ms. Grace Dzahini (Principal Admin Assistant)

 Participants of the workshop were really elated by the kind gesture shown on behalf of Management .  Mrs. Gloria Obeng-Benefo, Public Relations Officer for the Institute,in rendering the vote of thanks, expressed her profound gratitude to Prof. Koram for the training and  lauded the enormous support shown by the Institute Administrator Mr. Okyere Boateng. She was also hopeful that more of such training will be given to build the confidence and boost the administrative skills of all staff.

Mr. Okyere Boateng (left) and Mrs. Angela Appiah-Kubi ( Senior Admin Assistant)

 

The Postdoctoral Programme of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research organized the maiden Scientific conference from 4th-6th May 2017. The two-day conference was   organized as part of the Annual Meeting of the International Advisory Board meeting and brought together all past and present Postdoctoral Fellows, Advisory Board Members, Mentors and supervisors. The conference was a unique platform for the Fellows to share their research outcomes and experiences with stakeholders from both the public and private sectors and other members of the community. to provide a platform for the fellows to share their experiences and also the outcome of their studies with stakeholders and other members of the community. Also among the participants where stake holders from the public and private sector.

A section of participants at the workshop

 The theme for the conference was:Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Control of Infectious Diseases of Poverty in Africa.

Professor Kwadwo Koram, Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and Chairman of the Postdoctoral Programme Implementation Board, in welcoming participants and dignitaries, gave a brief background of the fellowship and took the opportunity to express the Institute’s profound gratitude to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for funding the fellowship. He mentioned that s
since the inception of the program, a total of 20 Fellows have been enrolled and most of them had completed up to two and half years of training. In addition, about 49 graduate students had received financial support to complete their Master’s thesis or dissertations.
He affirmed that NMIMR can boast of being a model for training young African scientists toward building a critical mass for the control of poverty-related diseases through this funding.. He thanked members of the programme’s Advisory Board, Supervisors and Mentors for the commitment and immense support that they have given to the coordinating office .He also expressed profound gratitude to the programme coordinators, staff of NMIMR, and the University community for their various contributions to the programme’s sustenance and outcomes. Prof. Koram, finally introduced the chairperson for the opening ceremony, Sir Prof. Brian Greenwood, who also c
hairs the Advisory Board of the NMIMR Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme.

Professor Kwadwo Koram, Director NMIMR



In the message read on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Rev.  Professor Patrick Ayeh-Kumi was very happy with the various strides the Institute was making in the area of training scientist and promoting the University’s vision to become one of the Best in Africa. He remarked that since the University declared its intention to transition from a teaching university to a research intensive one, NMIMR as a constituent of the College of Health Sciences of the University has had a key mandate to lead in this process. The conference, under the theme “Postdoctoral Fellowships and the Control of Infectious Diseases of Poverty in Africa”is therefore very relevant since it expresses the primary objective of the College.Hereiterated that this maiden conference is an important platform for the dissemination of research findings and for interaction between researchers and policy makers.

Rev. Professor Ayeh-Kumi, Provost CHS

 Sir Brian Mellor Greenwood,Chairman on the Advisory Board to the NMIMR Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme, was also the chairperson for the occasion.He said Achieving a PhD is an important first step to becoming an independent scientist, but many African scientist find this challenge especially in finding a position which allows the scientist to further their research without being overwhelmed by teaching or administrative duties is difficult. Thus, the post-graduate training programme established by the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was an important initiative. He congratulated all the Postdoc Fellows and hoped their presentations would be remarkable.

The ceremony was graced by the HonourableMinister of State in charge of Tertiary Education Professor KwesiYankah. He said the conference signalled the rebirth of Postdoctoral fellowships and that is meant to boost graduate work in Africa.He said the current development of postdoctoral fellowship is a major breakthrough by NMIMR in seeking to further exposed young African scholars to further training in the control of poverty related diseases. The immediate postdoctoral work in the life of the younger scientist is thus crucial for it may or break their academic future.He concluded by congratulating the younger scholars and Postdoctoral Fellows and again encouraged them to consider participation in the Junior Fellowship Project launched by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Science.

Professor Kwesi Yankah giving his speech at the opening ceremony

In his keynote address Dr Benjamin Gyampoh, a program manager at the African Acadamy of Science, expressed his excitement to be part of the occasion and paid glowing tributes to the big achievements that NMIMR has made in the area of Medical research in Ghana and the entire continent. He said: “I believe that time will pass and all too soon we will look back at the knowledge and motivation of this week, and see how far we have come with our postdoctoral fellowships in controlling infectious diseases of poverty in Africa.

Dr. Benjamin Gyampoh delivering his keynote address

In helping to address infectious diseases of poverty in Africa, Dr. Gyampoh noted that Postdoctoral fellowships must have high quality sustained relevant research. He concluded by encouraging the senior scientists and Postdoctoral fellows to stay focused on doing research to help our society. What is required is continuous investment in the right programmes that can be expanded and sustained whilst keeping our eyes on the real issues that confront us. As biomedical researchers and especially working here at the Noguchi Memorial Medical Research Centre, we have a critical role in helping to control infectious diseases of poverty in Africa.

Members of the International Advisory Board

The conference continued with various presentations (both oral and poster) from Maters Students on the fellowship as well as the Postdoctoral fellows. Certificates were awarded to participants at the end of the conference with the meeting of the international advisory board crowning the conference.


A section of the Masters students on the Postdoctoral Fellowship

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research witnessed another landmark ceremony on 3rd May, 2017 of a sod cutting ceremony which  was performed to commence the construction of Advanced Research Centre for Infectious Diseases at the Institute. The Project aims at  providing  an efficient and safe research and teaching environment for the staff and students of the Institute.   The  Centre  upon  completion,  will  contribute  to    positioning  the Institute’s  role in responding to the ever expanding  research and training needs of the country as well as the West African sub-region  and to respond  effectively to disease  outbreaks,  including  highly  pathogenic agents  such  as Ebola  Virus .

The Government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has extended a grant of  $21m to construct the Advance Research Centre.
                                                       Dignitaries present at the ceremony in a group photograph

 Prof. Samuel Agyei-Mensah Provost of the College of Humanities and Acting Vice Chancellor of the University welcomed distinguished guests and staff present. He used the opportunity to express  the University’s appreciation  to the Government and people of Japan,   as well as JICA for their support to NMIMR and the University of Ghana through the construction of the main building, the Biosafety Level 3 (P3) Laboratory, the Animal Experimentation Laboratories, Conference Hall and the generation of 715KW of power through the Solar Energy Plant among others.

                                      Professor Samuel Agyei-Mensah, Provost College of Humanities
Mr.  Hirofumi  Hoshi,  Chief  Representative of  Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)  congratulated   the  Institute  on  its remarkable  contribution to research and Public Health Service in Ghana, as well as the West African sub-region.  He also commended  the Institute for leading regional disease surveillance network, capacity building for laboratory and research in West Africa. “ We observed our long standing cooperation has borne fruit. We proudly observe that the Institute has acquired the global recognition as a Center of Excellence in the African region.  We expect, the  Institute could further strengthen the role for bridging research and health service on the continent he added.
Mr. Hirofumi Hoshi, Chief Representative of JICA
Mr. Hoshi was hopeful the new centre will make it possible and capable enough of producing high quality evidences that sufficiently meet global standard as well as contributing  to create a foundation and environment for achieving UHC, in terms of better preparedness for public health emergencies. He concluded by extending JICA’s wishes for the continued success of the Institute in scientific research to help reduce diseases burden in Ghana and the African region.

Professor Kwadwo Koram, Director of the Institute said the Government and People of Japan  have supported the Institute in various ways and have provided the Institute with various maintenance training schedules and also  project  support through the technical corporations . According to him the idea of looking for a grant started in 2011 during the tenure of  Prof. Alexander Nyarko's , a Former Director of the Institute,  and was catalyzed as the result of the Ebola epidemic . JICA was approached and in 2014 through the help of the Ministries of Education and Finance and Economic Planning the application was approved resulting in  the current project.  Prof. Koram reiterated that the success of the Institute both locally and internationally as a leading Centre for Health Resarch and Training  in the country and sub-region  has meant that we get additional laboratories because  the original labs became inadequate for the research work.
Professor Kwadwo Koram- Director, NMIMR
Professor  Koram was optimistic that the Advanced Research Centre will enable  the Institute  maintain its position and help explore the opportunities which will be provided in the opening of the University Medical Centre, as well as play a leading  role in disease surveillance and contribute to the activities of the Africa and Regional CDC.

H.E. Kauro Yoshimura, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana remarked that the bonds of friendship between Japan and Ghana will continue to blossom and pledged their continuous support to the country.
H.E. Kauro Yoshimura, Japanese Ambassador to Ghana
The Special Guest of Honour  Hon.  Shinsuke  Suematsue  State Minister for Land, infrastructure, Transport & Tourism, Japan, said it has been 90 years since Dr. Noguchi came to Ghana and he felt  privileged to be part of the expansion project. He was also overwhelmed by the research carried out and promised Shimizu Corporation will work hard to complete the project as scheduled .
Hon. Shinsuke Suematsue State Minister for Land, Infrastructure, Transport & Tourism, Japan

The  Minister of Health, Hon. Kwaku  Agyemang-Manu said that it should be a collective desire of all stakeholders to  provide a modern and an  advanced  technological intervention for  prevention and control of infectious diseases in the country. He mentioned that Infectious diseases remain a leading cause of death in developing countries and among children globally.  He was hopeful that the health system  in the country will be enhanced with the construction of the  new and advanced research centre.
“The Ministry of Health is ever ready to collaborate and support any cause in this direction. As the  Ministry responsible for  ensuring Ghanaians are healthy  and free from  infections, we are  more  than happy that this project is coming on board during the  period when the Ministry is  also   collaborating with   the   37   Military Hospital to resource the  Debra Ward  for managing infectious diseases  with   a  comprehensive training plan.    We   also   intend  to   construct  a  Centre  for Infectious Disease Control  and Study as a strategy to mitigate the  emergence of new infections” he stated. He  extended Government’s  gratitude to the  Government and people of Japan  for the  immense investment they have made in Ghana,  particularly in the health sector.

Minister of Health, Hon. Kwaku Agyemang-Manu

 H.E Sylvester Parker Allotey, Ambassador of Ghana to Japan said the sod cutting ceremony to start work on the expansion project was an extremely  joyous one since it has  been exactly   40 years when  there was a sod cutting ceremony   to begin the construction of  the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research. The project he said involved scientists from both countries and he paid glowing tributes SATREPS group which have been working with the Institute for reemerging pathogenic  diseases. He praised staff of the institute for the good work  being done and various  researches  carried out.

H.E Parker Allotey, Ambassador of Ghana to Japan

In his address,  the Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education Hon.  Prof. Kwesi  Yankah, mentioned that the Government has noted  with keen interest  the continued support  of scientific research  at the University  by the Government of Japan that has changed the country’s disease profile. He said the Government prioritized agenda to fight infections and called for the expansion of the Institute’s facility to ensure that the targets are met. Prof. Yankah conveyed Government's gratitude to the Government of Japan for the many facilities that had been acquired through their support . This he noted  has enabled the country to contain major disease outbreaks and recalled the several interventions the NMIMR made during the Ebola virus outbreak.

Minister of State in charge of Tertiary Education Hon. Prof. Kwesi Yankah

The event, he noted also signifies the strengthening of the bond of friendship between the two countries through the sectors of health, trade and education. He  congratulated the University and the Institute for the remarkable diligence to continue to uphold the local and international confidence reposed in the Institute.

Other dignitaries who graced the occasion were;Hon. Kwesi Amoako-Atta, Minister for Roads And Highways, The President for Japan Africa Infrastructure Development Association and Chairman for the Board of Directors for Shimizu Corporation, Mr. Yoichi Miyamoto, Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare- Director General, Ghana Health Service,  Professor Ernest Aryeetey- former Vice Chancellor, delegation from Japan, Provosts, Colleges of Health Sciences and Basic and Applied Sciences, Deans and Directors of the University community.

The dignitaries toured the site and planted trees to commemorate the event.
from left: Hon Kwesi Yankah, Hon Agyeman-Manu, Prof Kwadwo Koram planting trees to commemorate the event.

An African regional workshop titled, “Strengthening surveillance for seasonal and rapid response for pandemic influenza in the African Region” was held at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, from 3rd to 7th April, 2017.
 

Workshop participants in a group photograph

The workshop was a joint collaboration between NMIMR and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta as well as the World Health Organization.

The five-day workshop focused on recent Avian Influenza outbreaks in Africa, review sample collection and shipment, protocols for influenza virus detection and global platforms for influenza data sharing. It again centred on introducing tools for pandemic risk assessment (TIPRA) and emphasizes the One Health Approach for rapid response for pandemic influenza.


Expected outcomes of the workshop included reinforcement of rapid response and control measures for avian influenza for a better understanding of the risk assessment process for pandemic influenza and improved networking on influenza surveillance in the African Region.

Welcome Ceremony
A short ceremony was conducted to welcome all the participants.

The delegates were first welcomed by Prof. William Ampofo (Head of National Influenza Centre – NIC, Ghana) to Ghana and to the five days workshop which promised to be educative and knowledge centred.

Prof. Kwadwo Ansah Koram, Director of the Institute also addressed participants and gave them a brief history of the institute and its mandate to conduct research into diseases of public health concern in the country and sub-region. He mentioned the provision of high level laboratory training, laboratory investigations and outbreak support for the Ghana Health Service, and post-doctoral trainings for students from various African countries. He also noted the lack of robust surveillance systems to pick up early warning signs of disease in the African region with reference to the recent Ebola outbreak. He commended WHO, CDC and the Ghana NIC for promoting One Health by inviting experts from different fields, laboratory, epidemiology and the veterinary for the workshop. He hopped that the workshop will be the beginning of long-lasting collaborations between countries and the links formed at the workshop will support the activities and plans of the new African CDC.

Dr. Owen Laws Kaluwa (WHO Country Director – Ghana) commended the great effort and partnership of the US CDC - Influenza division, WHO and the NMIMR for organizing the workshop. He indicated that, the occurrence of avian influenza outbreaks in 2006 and influenza A (H1N1) pdm 2009 triggered coordination of regional preparedness for future outbreaks. At the end of 2016, a total of 34 countries in the African region had established influenza laboratories with minimum standards that provide data to WHO and CDC. The recent outbreaks of avian influenza among poultry in Africa highlights the need for continuous operation of appropriate detection and response mechanisms. He highlighted the support for capacity building efforts to improve monitoring and detection of influenza-like-illness and severe acute respiratory infections in Ghana and the African region. He encouraged the participants to take full advantage of the learning opportunities provided by the workshop to acquire knowledge and skills that will help improve and strengthen influenza surveillance and laboratory systems in their respective countries.

Dr. Dan Baden(US CDC Country Representative)expressed his appreciation to be amongst influenza experts from various African countries to deliberate on issues regarding risk assessments and pandemic preparedness. He gave an update on the contributions of the US CDC to HIV, malaria, immunization, emergency response and influenza virus surveillance activities in Ghana and the partnership between CDC and WHO to increase influenza surveillance capacity in Africa. He concluded by stressing that, in as much as a lot of successes have been reached in the African region, a lot of work still remains. He encouraged the participants to take the opportunity to learn, share stories and experiences and form networks and partnerships to enable effective information sharing to the benefit of Africa and the world population at large.

 Closing Remarks

Friday , 7th of April marked the end of the five-day workshop.

Representing the US CDC Dr. Pamela Ching expressed their heartfelt appreciation to everyone. She hoped the participants enjoyed the workshop and were able to establish new relationships with colleague to share information.

Dr. Magdi Saaman on behalf of WHO HQ also  thanked Prof. Ampofo and his team for planning and executing a well-organized workshop. He also thanked all the participants for coming, as it was a pleasure discussing the different topics on influenza. He encouraged the participants to share what they learnt with their colleagues back at home who did not get the opportunity to participate in the workshop.

Dr. Belinda Herring WHO AFRO thanked the University of Ghana, NMIMR and Professor Ampofo for organizing and hosting a great workshop. She said it was incredibly successful and she got to learn a lot from the different countries.

Prof. William Ampofo was grateful to the participants and urged them to continue the partnership which to help build a strong influenza surveillance network and bridge the data gap in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The workshop ended with the presentation of certificates to the participants.


The workshop was attended by fifty-eight (58) participants comprising of epidemiologists, laboratory scientists and veterinarians from twenty (20) African countries namely: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania,  Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Togo , Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia and  Zimbabwe.

There were eight (8) facilitators from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and NMIMR. A representative from the African Society of Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) and the African CDC were also present.


A section of participants during group discussions

The five-day workshop included PowerPoint presentations, Group exercises and Case studies, Skype video presentations with sharing of good practices and experiences among the participants and facilitators.

The workshop was funded by the US CDC, WHO and ASLM with logistical support from the NMIMR Office of Research Support.

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