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Focus: Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases

Affiliation: University of Ghana (Accra)


Site and Background:

This site will provide training opportunity in emerging and reemerging infectious diseases (viral, bacterial, and parasitic), neglected tropical diseases. There will be two training sites: (1) Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) for clinical research training; and (2) Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) for basic science, translational and field-based research training. The Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital is the premier health care facility in Ghana. It is the only tertiary hospital in the southern part of Ghana and it is the teaching hospital affiliated with University of Ghana Medical School, the first medical school in Ghana. KBTH, Ghana's premier medical center, was built in 1923. It is a 2000-bed hospital with 17 clinical and diagnostic departments and centers of excellence. The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research was established in 1979 as a semi-autonomous biomedical institute of the University of Ghana. The mandate of NMIMR is to: (1) conduct research into health problems of Public Health importance; (2) provide training opportunities for postgraduate students in medical research; and (3) provide specialized laboratory diagnostic and monitoring services in support of public health programs.

The infrastructural development and research support for the initial 20 years were mostly supported by four 5-year Grant Aids provided by the Government of Japan through its development agency JICA which ended in 2000. From 2000 the Institute broadened its research capacities to attract funds from other sources, including NIH, USA, Wellcome Trust, and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) among others. NMIMR currently manages five primary NIH grants; comprising of 3 RO1s, 1 H3FRICA Disease Research Network and 1 Cooperative agreement (Under the auspices of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease) and eight NIH sub-contracts. These are in addition to 1 DANIDA project and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant supports postdoc training with candidates drawn from the sub-region.

Dr. Paintsil received his medical training in Ghana before proceeding to the US for postdoc training. After his training he joined the Pediatric Infectious Diseases faculty at Yale in 2005. In 2006, Dr. Paintsil and his colleagues at Yale established a research training initiative with colleagues in Ghana, the Ghana-Yale Partnership for Global Health (GYPGH). The mission was to build intrinsic research capacity, reverse “brain-drain” by strengthening academic infrastructures, and create viable career opportunities for young African and American scientists. The main goals are: 1) to support collaborative research between faculty at the University of Ghana and Yale; and 2) to train young scientists at both institutions for a productive career in globally important infectious diseases research. Dr. Paintsil has extended his research to Ghana through this initiative. In collaboration with Drs. Renner and Lartey, Dr. Paintsil has mentored 8 Doris Duke International Research Fellows in Ghana; the fellows were sponsored by a Program at Yale University School of Medicine supported by a grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. The most recent is an NIH/NICHD RO1 funded project on Pediatric HIV disclosure intervention in Ghana using an adherence-disclosure specialist model. Dr. Paintsil is the PI and Drs. Renner and Lartey at KBTH are co-investigators. In keeping with its mission to build sustainable human capacity, the GYGPY has sponsored 25 students, faculty and staff from Ghana to spend up to two months at Yale, where they participate in its annual Summer Research Institute and receive intensive mentorship at various Yale labs. Dr. Wilson is the co-director of the GYGPY. Drs. Wilson, Ampofo and Ghansah have trained and mentored several trainees (undergrad and MD, MPH, PhD candidates) from Yale who have spent time at NMIMR in Ghana.