July 5, 2021 – SEOUL, Republic of Korea and KUMASI, Ghana – The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) opened the KNUST-IVI Collaborating Center today with a ceremony at KNUST/Agogo Presbyterian Hospital.
The KNUST-IVI Collaborating Center will be a research and training site to implement ongoing and new collaborative projects, including disease surveillance, vaccine clinical development, vaccination campaigns, and vaccine effectiveness and health economics studies for infectious diseases prevalent to the region such as typhoid and invasive non-typhoidal Salmonella. The KNUST-IVI Collaborating Center is the first of its kind, initiated by IVI to enable joint research, development, and capacity-building activities to achieve regional health objectives as well as the UN’s global goals.
Dr. Florian Marks, Principal Research Associate at the University of Cambridge and Deputy Director General at IVI, said: “After over a decade of working in close partnership with Professor Ellis Owusu-Dabo and his team at KNUST, we are extremely pleased that IVI and KNUST have officially established a Collaborating Center to recognize our history of successful scientific cooperation and to set the stage for future global health impact. We look forward to continuing our work toward a shared vision of eliminating typhoid and other vaccine-preventable diseases in Ghana and beyond.”
Professor Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Principal Investigator and Pro Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, said: “Our true legacy is in how we aspire to inspire the next generation before we expire.”
H.E. Lim Jung-taek, Korean Ambassador to Ghana, said: “I am very pleased to see the close research collaboration between IVI, KNUST, and Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, brought to fruition now with the opening of this collaborating center. The COVID-19 pandemic brings awareness to the need for the development of vaccines for COVID-19 and many other infectious diseases. COVID-19 also lets us know of the importance of strengthening vaccination and health systems in local communities, as well as enhanced international cooperation and solidarity for equitable access to vaccines.”
Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Presidential Advisor on Health to the President of Ghana, said: “The need to continuously build evidence and generate data, particularly from Africa, is very key, hence, the need to build such centers that allow for continuous monitoring and evidence generation…On behalf of the government, I applaud and congratulate the partnership among KNUST, Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, IVI, and the government of Ghana for this achievement. Our hope is that the commission of this center will herald yet another ground-breaking scientific research to solve the many diseases that confront us as a country.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was moderated by Dr. Andrea Haselbeck, Senior Research Scientist at IVI, and Dr. Daniel Norris Bekoe, Head of University Relations at KNUST, and featured remarks from:
- Agogo Presbyterian Hospital Manager and Chaplain
- Prof. Yaw Adu-Sarkodie, Former Provost of College of Health Sciences, KNUST
- Mr. Alex Kessey, General Manager, Agogo Presbyterian Hospital
- Prof. Rita Akosua Dickson, Vice-Chancellor, KNUST
- Dr. Jerome Kim, Director General, IVI
- Honorable Mahama Asei Seini, Deputy Minister of Health, Ghana
- H.E. LIM Jung-taek, Ambassador of Korea to Ghana
- Dr. Anthony Nsiah-Asare, Presidential Advisor on Health, Ghana
- Dr. Patrick Kuma-Aboagye, Director General, Ghana Health Service
- Dr. Duncan Steele, Deputy Director of Global Health, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Ms. Hyejin Jung, Country Representative, Korea Foundation for International Healthcare (KOFIH)
- Prof. Ellis Owusu-Dabo, Principal Investigator and Pro Vice-Chancellor, KNUST
- Dr. Florian Marks, Principal Research Associate, University of Cambridge and Deputy Director General, IVI
Following the opening of the KNUST-IVI Collaborating Center, both parties will begin a mass vaccination campaign as consortium members of the Typhoid Conjugate Vaccine Introduction in Africa (THECA) program, which aims to assess the effectiveness of a typhoid conjugate vaccine (TCV) through two clinical studies, including a cluster-randomized trial in Ghana, to support the introduction of TCV into routine immunization programs in typhoid-endemic countries in Africa. The vaccination campaign is set to start in July 2021, and more information on THECA is available here.
About the International Vaccine Institute (IVI)
The International Vaccine Institute (IVI) is a nonprofit inter-governmental organization established in 1997 at the initiative of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). IVI has 36 signatory countries and the World Health Organization (WHO) on its treaty, including Korea, Sweden, India, and Finland as state funders.
Our mandate is to make vaccines available and accessible for the world’s most vulnerable people. We focus on infectious diseases of global health importance such as cholera, typhoid, shigella, salmonella, schistosomiasis, chikungunya, group A strep, Hepatitis A, HPV, TB, HIV, MERS, COVID-19, as well as antimicrobial resistance. For more information, please visit https://www.ivi.int
About Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST)
Established in 1951, KNUST is Ghana’s leading public tertiary institutions. The campus is situated about eight kilometres away from the centre of Kumasi, the Ashanti regional capital, and covers an area of about eighteen square kilometres. The School of Public Health is one of the five schools/faculties within the college of health sciences.
It works closely with the department of clinical microbiology of the School of Medicine and Dentistry and has established laboratories for the conduct of research. One such laboratory is located at the Agogo Presbyterian Hospital, where the KNUST-IVI collaborating center is located. The laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to enable the smooth conduct of research. These holistic laboratories boast of microscopes, autoclaves, biosafety hoods, incubators, cooled centrifuges, ELISA readers, thermal cyclers, agarose gel electrophoresis set-up, transilluminator and Real time PCR machines.
Aerie Em, Global Communications & Media Specialist
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