UGMS receives $1.23m NIH grant to tackle antimicrobial resistance in West Africa

Gideon Nicholas Day
Gideon Nicholas Day
3 Min Read

The Department of Medical Microbiology at the University of Ghana Medical School has been awarded a $1.23 million grant by the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Centre to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) in West Africa. The grant, which involves multiple institutions in West Africa and the United States, was awarded to Prof. Eric Sampane-Donkor, Head of the Department of Medical Microbiology, as the overall Principal Investigator.

This new grant is the second award received by Prof. Eric Sampane-Donkor within one year, following an RO1 award to investigate the impact of vaccination on the population biology of the pneumococcus with regard to children with sickle cell disease.

The five-year grant, titled “Research and Capacity Building in Antimicrobial Resistance in West Africa” (RECABAW Training Programme), will establish a core of West African scientists through PhD and postdoctoral training to advance the understanding and management of AMR in the sub-region. According to the World Health Organisation, AMR is considered one of the greatest global threats to human health, with an estimated 10 million deaths every year and a reduction of 2-3.5% in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), costing a total of 100 trillion USD if not addressed properly.

The West African sub-region has the highest burden of AMR globally, making the RECABAW Training Programme particularly relevant. The PhD and postdoctoral fellows on the programme will undertake cutting-edge research using modern tools such as metagenomic sequencing to help design interventions in key areas of AMR, such as improved diagnostics and drug discovery.

Four institutions will collaborate with the University of Ghana on the RECABAW Training Programme: The Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit (The Gambia), Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria), Washington University (USA), and University of Utah (USA). Although the PhD and postdoctoral fellows will be registered at the Department of Medical Microbiology, they will have the opportunity to undertake part or all of their research at one of the collaborating institutions in West Africa or the United States.

The Department of Medical Microbiology is recognised as a national leader in AMR research and training. This new NIH grant signals a major milestone for the Department in achieving regional recognition in the AMR space.

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