Researcher urges government to speed up approval of ACE Project
Abuja, May 21, GNA – A research scientist has urged government to speed up the approval of the World Bank’s Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) Project fund for the three centres in Ghana.
Dr Gordon A. Awandare, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology/Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory of the University of Ghana, said there is the need for government to demonstrate its commitment towards promoting scientific research and higher education by fast tracking the approval of the ACE Project funds to help boost research works at the various centres in the country.
He explained that two of the three awards which Ghana won went to the University of Ghana’s West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) and the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement, while the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology took the Water and Sanitation Project Award.
Dr Awandare made the appeal in an interview in Abuja with the Ghana News Agency on Wednesday on the sideline of the on-going ACE Project meeting, which had brought together over 100 renowned academicians and researchers from the West and Central Africa sub-regions.
He said comparatively, Nigeria initially had won seven awards, but the Federal government as part of its commitment towards higher education asked for the ACE Project to increase the number by three, explaining that this additional number was being funded by state.
He said infectious diseases such as Malaria, HIV and Tuberculosis contribute the largest proportion of morbidity and mortality in the West African sub-region.
Dr Awandare, who is also the Team Leader of the WACCBIP ACE Project further explained that this calls for increased and sustained efforts to train the manpower required to confront the menace and to promote research towards the development of new approaches for vaccines, drugs and diagnostics.
He said the WACCBIP Center when fully operational, would provide masters, doctor of philosophy, post-doctoral level training, and conduct research focused on cell and molecular biology of major diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis.
Dr Awandare gave the assurance that WACCBIP would increase research output in vaccines, drugs and diagnostics innovation by serving as a focal point for enhancing collaboration among biomedical scientists and biotechnology companies in Ghana and the sub-region
He said the Centre would also serve as a core facility with state-of-the art biomedical laboratories to support infectious diseases research in the sub-region and a Biomedical High Performance Computing Unit that would provide access to cluster computing services, data storage and scientific data handling software.
Dr Awandare said the Centre would also build on existing collaborations with institutions of the Ghana Health Service, including hospitals and health research institutions such as the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Lekma Hospital in Accra, the Navrongo Health Research Centre and the Kintampo Health Research Centre on the other.
He said as part of efforts to boost medical research in West Africa, WACCBIP would also partner with faculty members from several regional institutions, such as the Medical Research Council unit in the Gambia, the Center Suisse de recherché scientifique in La Cote d’Ivoire, and the Malaria Research and Training Center at the University of Science, Techniques, and Technology, in Bamako, Mali.
©2012 Ghana News Agency