ACEs Lead Health Research in Infectious and Genetic Diseases

Through partnerships with various international and local institutions, some of the health focused Africa Centres of Excellence are involved in research which is seeking answers to solving some of humanities challenges and curbing diseases. ACEGID for instance is part of a consortium conducting numerous studies (including an epidemiology study) in line with preparations for the trials of safe, effective, and affordable vaccines for Lassa fever. The centre was also the lead in sequencing the first case of Ebola in Nigeria within 48 hours, a singular feat that led to early containment, management, and control of the disease in Nigeria, and hence saving lives of the many people who could have been infected by the disease.

With an estimated number of about 14, 000 babies born each year with sickle cell disease in Ghana alone, the West Africa Genetic Medicine Centre (WAGMC) is focusing on undertaking key research on sickle cell diseases. WAGMC is also involved in continental level initiatives, projects and networks including the Sickle Cell Diseases Genomics Network of Africa (SickleGenAfrica).  Other key focus areas of the research conducted by the centre include Diabetes, Kidney Disease, and Cancer.

The Centre for Mycotoxin and Food Safety (ACEMFS) is focusing its research on mitigation against mycotoxins for food safety and improved public health and trade. The centre conducts regional surveillance of chemical residues that is, heavy metals, veterinary drug and pesticides residues and hydrocyanic acids in cassava food products among others.

The involvement of some Centres of Excellence in conducting research focused on the characterization of malaria pathogens needs to be underscored. Professor Diabate Abdoulaye, the Centre Director for the African Center of Excellence in Biotechnology Innovation for Vector-borne Disease Elimination (CEA/ ITECH-MTV) for instance, received the Newcomb Cleveland Prize for his outstanding research on fighting malaria in Africa. All these efforts are in line with fostering world-class research excellence and providing lifesaving information and research findings on disease prevention and treatment.

CEA-SAMEF gives back to society through health screening

The African Center of Excellence in Maternal and Infant Health (CEA-SAMEF), hosted by the University of Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal organized a health screening and awareness campaign for over 500 residents of Dakar. The event was organized in collaboration with the Institute of Social Pediatrics (IPS) Guédiawaye, Senegal on Saturday, September 1 2018. These residents were screened for various diseases and infections including; urinary tract infections in children, anemia in adolescents and children, breast and cervical cancer in women, among others. Coupled with the screening was a training session for health workers in preventive techniques and first aid care.

Again, on Monday, September 03, 2018, CEA-SAMEF launched another joint medical campaign in partnership with the Association of Student Surgeons and Dentists of Senegal (AECDS) in the Commune of Mboro. The campaign which provided free health screening for about five hundred (500) people including women and children was held at the Darou Khoudoss ICS health post in Dakar, Senegal. More than 35 doctors from all disciplines including dentists and pharmacist participated in this well meaning contribution to quality healthcare delivery.

The health screening also created awareness on the role of CEA-SAMEF in improving child and maternal health in Senegal. It also strengthened the partnership between the Center,  the Institute of Social Paediatrics (IPS) and Association of Student Surgeons and Dentists of Senegal (AECDS). Moreover, participants were sensitized on adolescent health, nutritional status of women and children among other health related issues.

Based on the enormous impact of the health screening, efforts are being made to perpetuate the event and make it a statutory one for CEA-SAMEF.

The Africa Centre of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (CEA_SAMEF) is one of the six Centres under the Africa Centre of Excellence(ACE) project funded by the World Bank. The Centre since its inception has awarded more than 10 PhD scholarships to deserving students and introduced 13 short courses to train health staff.

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