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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.

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