The Government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has extended a grant of $21m to construct the Advance Research Centre.
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.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. 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 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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.