Amos Laar (BSc, MPH, MA, PhD), a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Population, Family & Reproductive Health, has served the University of Ghana with unblemished record for six years as Academic Senior Member. He has received academic training in Nutrition, Public Health, and Bioethics. His interdisciplinary work spans Reproductive Health, and Perinatal Epidemiology; Maternal and Young Child Nutrition, and Nutrition-related NCDs. He also researches into the socio-cultural, socio-ethical, and the medico-ethical dimensions of sexually, and perinatally transmissible infections (esp. HIV).
He has been a Principal Investigator of eight (8), and a Co-Investigator of 12 successful research grants at the University of Ghana. He was a co-Investigator of the HIV and AIDS Interactive Training, Education and Development Center Project, which developed interventions to increase uptake of HIV testing, and reproductive health literacy among students and staff of the University of Ghana. His current projects include the Six Legs to Health Project – exploring the use of edible insects for improved maternal and child nutrition in Ghana, the HIV Care Cascade Project - assessing the HIV care cascade in key populations in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana, the Non-prescription Medication Use Project – which assesses multiple non-prescription drugs use among Ghanaian HIV-positive persons on antiretroviral therapy, the Community-based Hypertension Improvement Project (ComHIP). ComHIP engages the private sector and utilizes ICTs to improve the management and control of hypertension in Ghana, the Text2Heart Study – that seeks to develop and pilot tailored text message to improve adherence to medications in cardiovascular secondary prevention, and the Drivers of Food Choices Project – that seeks amongst others to identify how social, and physical environments drive consumption of energy dense nutrient-poor (EDNP) foods and beverages throughout the reproductive life course
Dr. Laar has authored 34 peer-review publications, one book, three book chapters, 47 conference papers, and several technical reports. Some of his publications have appeared in BMC Medical Ethics, AIDS Care, BMC Public Health, AIDS Research and Therapy, JMIR Res Protoc, Cambridge University Press’ Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, BMC Women's Health, The Pan African Medical Journal, African Journal of Reproductive Health, BMC Research Notes, International Journal of MCH and AIDS, PLoS ONE, Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology, and Jones & Bartlett, Burlington MA, USA, Frontiers in Psychology, Nova Science Pub Inc, New York, NY, USA, and the International Breastfeeding Journal.
He has provided consultancy services to both local and international development agencies including the United Nations World Food Program, the Accra Office of the New York-based Population Council, the National Development Planning Commission. He was a visiting Bill and Melinda Gate’s Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2007 during which he developed competencies in evaluations and analysis of complex population survey data. At the School of Public Health, Legon, he has developed and taught graduate level courses (Public Health Approaches to HIV and AIDS, Nutrition for Public Health Programming, Introduction to Family Health), and undergraduate level courses (Infant and Young Child Feeding, Diet and Diseases, and Public Health Ethics).
He is a member of the National Key Populations Technical Working Group; as well as the “Ghana Country Response Data Team”, a task team charged with the development of a National System for the Validation of HIV data. Dr. Laar is a founding member of the Ghana Civil Society Alliance in support of Scaling up Nutrition. He Co-wrote its seed grant (USD374,500.00) with four others. He currently coordinates the Ghana Academic Platform in support of Scaling up Nutrition.
COURSES DEVELOPED AND TAUGHT AT THE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Undergraduate level courses developed and taught
1. GSPH 302: Infant and Young Child Feeding (2 Credits)
2. GSPH 307: Public Health Nutrition (2 Credits) – Co-taught
3. GSPH 341: Assessment of Nutritional Status (3 Credits)
4. GSPH 354: Nutritional Surveillance (2 Credits)
5. GSPH 453: Diet and Diseases (2 Credits)
Graduate level courses developed & taught
1. PFRH 602: Introduction to Family Health 2 Credits
2. PFRH 674: Public Health Approaches to HIV and AIDS (2 Credits)
3. PFRH 712: Nutrition for Public Health Programming (3 Credits) –Co-taught
Dr. Laar’s broad research and professional interests span Reproductive Health, and Public Health Nutrition. Specifically:
His work draws upon epidemiological and bioethical approaches such as implementation research, ethical analysis, policy analysis, theoretical human rights analysis, interest analysis, and evaluations.
SYNOPSIS OF SELECTED ONGOING AND RECENTLY COMPLETED PROJECTS
1. Dietary transitions in Ghanaian cities
The project aims to amongst others: identify how social (family, friends, peers, role modelling, social support, social norms) and physical (home, work, school, neighbourhoods, food outlets) environments drive consumption of energy dense nutrient-poor (EDNP) foods and beverages throughout the reproductive life course; identify, prioritize and encourage scaling up of context-relevant gender interventions to reduce consumption of EDNP foods and beverages throughout the reproductive life course
2. Txt2Heart pilot study: An international study to develop and pilot tailored text message to improve adherence to medications in cardiovascular secondary prevention.
This pilot study aims to develop an appropriate content of SMS addressing local causes of poor adherence, and gather information for the appropriate trial design needed to evaluate the efficacy & safety of SMS to increase adherence to CVD secondary prevention medications.
3. 6L2H Project: Six Legs to Health: Akokono (edible insects) for improved maternal and child nutrition in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana.
This project seeks to gain insight on community dietary beliefs and practices, including the consumption of palm weevil larva, and linkages to the food system. The project will co-develop a new approach to improve the diets of children and mothers through increased, consistent consumption of local palm weevil larva. It will create income generating opportunities for mothers and families – through the production and sale of palm weevil larvae.
4. Evaluation of the Community-based Hypertension Improvement Project (Com-HIP) in Lower Manya Krobo, Ghana:
Com-HIP is a community based programme for hypertension control that includes a public-private partnership. The programme engages the private sector through the use of licensed chemical sellers (LCSs) and utilizes information and communication technologies (ICTs), and task shifting to enhance the capacity of the Ghana Health Service to improve the management and control of hypertension.
5. Assessing the HIV care cascade in key populations in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana: a pilot study.
This study seeks to characterize the extent to which steps in the HIV care cascade are achieved for key populations in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. It will explore the individual, social, and structural level factors related to disparities in achieving the HIV care cascade steps across key population groups in Ghana. Project is being co-implemented by a colleague and our collaborator from the New York University.
6. Assessment of non-prescription drugs use among Ghanaian HIV-positive persons on antiretroviral therapy (ART).
This study investigates multiple non-prescription drugs use among HIV-positive persons on antiretroviral therapy (ART). The primary objective of the study is to confirm the practice and extent of polypharmacy, polyherbacy, nutritional supplement use, and other alternative medication use among HIV-positive persons receiving ART from four treatment centers in southern Ghana.
Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, Books, and Book Chapters (2013 – 2016)
Dun-Dery EJ, Laar AK (2016). Exclusive breastfeeding among city-dwelling professional working mothers in Ghana. International Breastfeeding Journal DOI: 10.1186/s13006-016-0083-8 http://internationalbreastfeedingjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1...
Laar AK, and Tandoh, A. Not Infected but Affected: The Burden of Aids-Induced Food Insecurity among HIV-Affected Households in Ghana. In: Rosalie Garner (Eds). Food Insecurity: Patterns, Prevalence and Risk Factors. Nova Science Pub Inc, New York, NY, USA. 2016 https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=59934 2015
Gbagbo FY, Amo-Adjei J and Laar AK (2015). Decision-making for induced abortion in the Accra Metropolis, Ghana. African Journal of Reproductive Health 2015; 19 (2): 34 http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ajrh/article/view/120791
Arzoaquoi SK, Essuman EE, Gbagbo FY, Tenkorang EY, Soyiri I, Laar AK . Motivations for food prohibitions during pregnancy and their enforcement mechanisms in a rural Ghanaian district. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine (2015) 11:59 DOI 10.1186/s13002-015-0044-0 http://ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13002-015-0044-0
Laar AK, DeBruin DA, Craddock S (2015). Partner notification in the context of HIV: an interest-analysis. AIDS Research and Therapy 2015, 12:15 doi:10.1186/s12981-015-0057-8 http://aidsrestherapy.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12981-015-0057-8
Laar AK, Taylor AE, Akasoe BA (2015). HIV-seropositivity is not important in childbearing decision making among HIV-positive Ghanaian women receiving antiretroviral therapy. AIDS Care 2015; http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09540121.2015.1007115
Laar AK , El-Adas A, Amenyah RN, Atuahene K, Asare E, Tenkorang EY, Laar M, Adjei AA and Quakyi I (2015) Food and nutrition assistance to HIV-infected and affected populations in Ghana: a situational analysis and stakeholder views. African Geographical Review, 34:1, 69-82, DOI: 10.1080/19376812.2014.964739 http://www.africabib.org/htp.php?RID=391019198
Laar, AK, Fiaveh, D., Laar, M., Boatemaa, S., Abugri, J., El-Adas, A., Amenyah, R., Atuahene, K., Adjei, A. and Quakyi, I (2014). Profiles of HIV-Affected Households in Ghana. Health, 2014; 6, 2004-2013. doi:10.4236/health.2014.615235 http://www.scirp.org/journal/PaperInformation.aspx?PaperID=48948
Laar AK (2014). Researcher vulnerability: An overlooked issue in vulnerability discourses. Scientific Research and Essays, 2014; 9(16), 737 – 743. DOI: 10.5897/SRE2014.5849 http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/SRE/article-abstract/30239D347071
Laar AK (2013). Reproductive rights and options available to women infected with HIV in Ghana: perspectives of service providers from three Ghanaian health facilities. BMC Women's Health 2013,13:13; doi:10.1186/1472-6874-13-13. http://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1472-6874-13-13
Laar AK, Aryeetey R: Nutrition of women and children: Focus on Ghana and HIV/AIDS. In: N. Stein (Eds.), Public Health Nutrition Principles and Practice in Community and Global Health (pp 187 -210). Jones & Bartlett, Burlington MA, USA. 2014 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/266044469_Nutrition_of_women_an...
REFEREED CONFERENCE PAPERS
Conference paper by my mentees including graduate and undergraduate students
Archibald N. Okotah, Amos K. Laar. Sexual and reproductive health knowledge and concerns: a survey of adolescent students in the ga-east municipality, Ghana. 1st No Yawa National Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Summit. Accra, Ghana, June 8 – 9 2016.
Adjei KK., Laar AK,. Narh CT, Abdulai MA, Newton, S,. Owusu-Agyei S, and Adjei S. 'Injectables belong to hospitals & clinics': a comparative study on the availability of injectables in health facilities in a peri-urban municipality in Ghana. 2015 International Conference on Family Planning in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, November 2015.
Effah EK, Fuseni M, Aryeetey R, Laar AK. Monitoring of community iodized salt quality status in the Tafo and La Dadekotopon Districts of Ghana. The Sixth Biennial Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VI) of the African Nutrition Society; Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration in Accra, Ghana from 20th to 25th July 2014.
Kodi NNK, Laar AK. Prevalence of overweight and its risk factors among school adolescents, Adansi North District, Ghana. The Sixth Biennial Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VI) of the African Nutrition Society; Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration in Accra, Ghana 20th to 25th July 2014
Okotah N. B. A., Laar A. K. (2012). Reproductive Health Knowledge of Adolescent Students in Ga East Municipality of Ghana: A Concern for Public Health. A paper presented at the 13th World Congress on Public Health, April 23 – 27 2012, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Amankwa B., Laar A. K. (2011). Challenges and experiences of Ghanaian health workers implementing the global guidelines on HIV and infant feeding. Paper presented at the 5th Annual College of Health Sciences Scientific Conference, 21st to 23rd 2011, GIMPA, Accra, Ghana
Asante C., Laar A. K. (2011). Knowledge on emergency contraceptive pills among women seeking pregnancy termination services at the eastern regional hospital, Koforidua. Paper presented at the 5th Annual College of Health Sciences Scientific Conference, 21st to 23rd 2011, GIMPA, Accra, Ghana
Conference papers by self and collaborators
Amos K. Laar, Awewura Kwara, Priscillia A. Nortey, Augustine K. Ankomah, Michael P. K. Okyerefo, Margaret Y. Lartey.Use of non-prescription remedies by Ghanaian HIV-positive persons on antiretroviral therapy. 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016)Durban, South Africa | July 18-22, 2016
Amos Laar, Richmond Aryeetey, Francis Zotor. Cementing the linkages between nutrition and social protection in ghana: an issues paper. 7th African Nutritional Epidemiology Conference, Marrakech Morocco, October 9 – 14 2016
Stephanie Zobrist, Nikhila Kalra, Megan Parker, Amos Laar, Agnes Kotoh, Charlotte Tawiah, Issa Wone, Peiman Milani, Gretel Pelto. Cognitive mapping techniques reveal culturally relevant information on infant and young child complementary feeding practices to inform nutrition interventions 7th African Nutritional Epidemiology Conference, Marrakech Morocco, October 9 – 14 2016
Laar A.K., Perel, P. Adler, A. Caldwell, A. Lamptey P. 2015. Evaluation of A Community-Based Programme For Hypertension Control In Ghana. 9th European Congress on Tropical Medicine and Internatinal Health, 6 – 9th September 2015, Basel, Switzerland.
Aryeetey RNO, Laar AK, Zotor F, Ghana SUN Academic Platform. Capacity for scaling up nutrition: a focus on pre-service training in West Africa. The Sixth Biennial Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC VI) of the African Nutrition Society; Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration in Accra, Ghana from 20th to 25th July 2014.
Laar A.K., Appiah E. (2013). Contraceptive use, general reproductive health literacy and needs of out of school adolescents in a peri-urban Ghanaian district. Paper presented at the International Conference on Family Planning: Research and Best Practices; November 12 – 15, 2013; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Sutherland EG, Laar AK, Ankomah A, Dako-Gyeke P, Asampong E, Kuranchie P, Reynolds HW (2013). A Performance Evaluation of the Ghana National HIV Prevention Programme for MARPs. Paper presented at the National HIV and AIDS Research Conference (NHARCON), 10 -13th September 2013, Accra Ghana.
Laar M. E., Laar, A. K., Himes J. (2011). Infant feeding modality and health of mothersinfected with human immunodeficiency virus in sub-Saharan Africa – a systematic literature review.¬¬ Paper presented at the 5th Annual College of Health Sciences Scientific Conference, 21st to 23rd 2011, GIMPA, Accra, Ghana
Laar A. K. Family Planning, Abortion And HIV In Ghanaian Print Media: A Content Analysis Of The Most Widely Circulated Ghanaian Newspaper Since 1950 – The Daily Graphic. Paper presented at the International Conference on Family Planning: Research and Best Practices; November 15 – 18, 2009; Kampala, Uganda
Laar AK, Ampofo WK, Tuakli JM, Owusu WB, Asante RKO, and Quakyi IA. Intakes of selected nutrients among asymptomatic HIV+ pregnant adults from two socio-economically disparate Ghanaian settings. A paper presented at the Third Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference (ANEC) III - Cairo, Egypt, 13th – 16th October 2008
Laar AK, Ampofo WK, Tuakli JM, Amenyah RN Quakyi IA. Fetal anemia and umbilical cord parasitemia in newborns of HIV+ women. A paper presented at the 2nd Annual College of Health Sciences Scientific Conference, September 24-27, 2008.
Laar AK, Ampofo WK, Tuakli JM, Owusu WB, Amenyah RN, Soyiri IN, Kuranchie P, Senah K, Valerie PM, Amuah P, and Quakyi IA. Prevalence of poor perinatal outcomes among HIV+ women in the Manya Krobo District & Tmema Municipality A paper presented at the 2nd National HIV/AIDS Research Conference (NHARCON), 3-5 March 2008, La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana.
Laar AK, Ampofo WK, Tuakli JM, Owusu WB, Amenyah RN, Soyiri IN, Kuranchie P, Senah K, Valerie PM, Amuah P, and Quakyi IA. Are poor maternal anthropometrics at first prenatal visit associated with adverse perinatal outcomes? A paper presented at the first Annual College of Health Sciences Scientific Conference, Accra International Conference Center, September 26-28, 2007 Accra, Ghana.
Laar AK, Ampofo WK, Tuakli-Ghartey JM, Kuranchie P, Senah KA, Owusu WB, Mann VP, and Quakyi IA, 2005. The Influence of HIV and Malaria Infections on the Nutritional Status of Pregnant Women in the Manya Krobo District and Tema Municipality. A paper presented at the Third African Regional TEPHINET Scientific Conference. Accra-Ghana: 6th – 9th Dec 2005.
Laar A.K, Owusu W.B. and Twenefour D 2004. Nutrient Intake, Anthropometric Characteristics, and Quality of Life of People Living With HIV/AIDS in Ghana. Int Conf AIDS 2004 Jul 11-16; 15: (abstract no. D11533)
Laar A.K., Owusu W.B., and Yeboah K. Anthropometric Characteristics of HIV/AIDS patients in Accra, Ghana. A paper presented at the 23rd Biennial Conference, Ghana Science Association (GSA). University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, 4th to 8th August 2003.