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Africa CDC donates genomic sequencing machine to Noguchi

BY: Doreen Andoh
 Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu (middle), Director of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, making some remarks to Dr Sofonias Tessema (left), Programme Lead for the Pathogen Genomics Initiative, Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prof. Julius Fobil, Provost of College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu (middle), Director of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, making some remarks to Dr Sofonias Tessema (left), Programme Lead for the Pathogen Genomics Initiative, Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prof. Julius Fobil, Provost of College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

The Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has presented three genomic sequencing equipment to the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

The equipment is to enhance medical research, disease surveillance and response in the country and in the region.

It also presented a high computing system to the institute to enhance data analysis and storage.

Scientists use genomic sequencing to decipher the genetic material found in an organism or virus to help them track the spread of a virus, how it is changing and how those changes may affect public health.

Genomic sequencing facilitates rapid diagnostics, rapid determination of appropriate vaccine and medicines for disease control and management.

Enhancing delivery

Speaking at a handing over ceremony in Accra last Friday, the Director of the Institute, Prof. Dorothy Yeboah Manu, said the equipment would enhance the delivery of the institute's mandate.

That, she said, included research into diseases of public health concern and supporting the Ghana Health Service and the World Health Organisation with disease surveillance for better health interventions and outcomes.

She said to be able to do that, an in-depth understanding into genomes was critical.

She said the genomic sequencing equipment would boost the institute's capacity in doing that for better health outcomes.

Prof. Yeboah- Manu expressed the NMIMR's gratitude to the Africa CDC for the gesture and their support over the years.

Ghana’s commitment

A representative of Africa CDC, Dr Sarah Mwangi, said the CDC acknowledged Ghana’s leadership and commitment in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

She said the Africa CDC remained available to support whenever required.

“The Africa CDC Institute of Pathogen Genomics was launched in November 2019 to support the adoption and implementation the integration of pathogen genomics and bioinformatics into public health surveillance, outbreak detection and investigations and improve disease control and prevention in Africa,” she said.

Coordinated approach

Dr Mwangi said the Africa CDC Pathogen Genomics Initiative had been supporting a continental coordinated approach to maximise the benefits of pathogen genomics for more effective outbreak preparedness, prevention and response and for the control and elimination of endemic diseases in Africa.

She said the continental approach encompassed regional hubs in five geopolitical regions, one of which was the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research.

On behalf of the Africa CDC Institute of Pathogen Genomics, she thanked the NMIMR for its continued cooperation and looked forward to fruitful engagements on the next steps as the two institutions continued with its partnership.

The Provost of the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Prof. Julius Fobil, expressed the university’s gratitude to the Africa CDC for boosting the capacity of the NMIMR to enhance the delivery of its mandate.

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