UGMC launches $5m fundraiser for Clinical Trials Unit
The University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) has set a target to raise GH₵50,000.000 to set up a well-equipped Clinical Trials Unit (CTU) by the end of the first quarter of 2024.
When completed, the project will have laboratory and ward components with both units equipped to meet international standards for research that studies new tests and treatments, as well as evaluates their effects on human health outcomes.
Consequently, the UGMC is in partnership with some corporate entities across the country to raise the funds to enable the centre to meet the target needed to put up the facility for the trials laboratory, as well as equip the ward.
Also, the centre, in conjunction with IT Consortium, developers of the Chango crowdfunding platform, has released a short code – *887*222# to encourage the public to donate their widow’s mite towards the completion of the project, while members of the public who wish to donate by cheque are requested to address it to: Chango/Fund-raiser for in-patient clinic trials unit.
At a press conference held to launch the fundraising venture at the UGMC Simulation Centre, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UGMC, Dr Kwame Anim Boamah, said a key pillar of his outfit’s mandate was to perform research to bring new treatments and medical devices that would enhance the health of Ghanaians and the world at large.
Participants in the media briefing
He said the UGMC had embraced the challenge by creating the Medical Scientific Research Centre, which sought to perform the necessary clinical trials to bring those new treatments.
“To achieve this goal, there is an urgent need for a state-of-the-art in-patient Clinical Trials Unit and laboratories where the trials will be performed safely to international standards,” he said.
Dr Boamah further explained that setting up a CTU at the centre would ensure that medications taken by Ghanaians for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cancer were suitable for the population.
“Many medications being used in Africa had trials done in Europe or America, where the genetic makeup of the trial participants is different.
For instance, it is now clear that certain common medications for high blood pressure do not work in black patients.
This situation could have been prevented if the trials for these medicines were done here,” he said.
The UGMC also mentioned that although herbal products had the potential to cure many ailments, scientific trials had not been done; thus, a proper CTU in Ghana could do these trials to international standards and help validate some of these treatments.
He said many cancer treatments were also now personalised to patient’s genetics, saying: “These treatments cannot come to Ghana to help our patients unless we can do the trials and associated laboratory tests right here in Ghana.
A hospital-based CTU will fill this gap.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that we must train and perform our own trials.
The hesitancy in taking the COVID-19 vaccine is partly because trials were not done here,” he said
“The UGMC has a large empty space, which we are going to transform into a state-of-the-art modern CTU where various tests are going to be performed, which is not only going to help in terms of research but in terms of patient care so we are appealing to all organisations and individuals to help donate towards this worthy cause,” he added.
The CEO of IT Consortium, Romeo Adjei, said they aimed to help raise funds for development projects across various sectors in the country.
“It is in line with this that when we identified this project, we felt that this is something that is historic and so it is important that as top corporate citizens of this land, we also throw our weight into helping establish something like this,” he said.
“Looking at what UGMC wants to establish, I want to take this opportunity to invite corporate Ghana to join us in making history today.
I pray that no one will be left out of this so that your name will be inked in history and posterity will remember that when we were building this trial unit, you were part of it,” he added.
In her closing remarks, the Director of Operations at the UGMC and Chairperson of the fundraising committee, Madam Lucy Ofori Ayeh, expressed the hope that several corporate organisations and individuals would support the project to bring it to fruition.