Relacs Network On Diagnosis Of Co-Infections Hold Meeting

Dr. Kofi Anyan

Scientists from four (4) West African countries have participated in the Relacs Network Workshop on Diagnosis of Helminths and Co-Infections at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research.

Director of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Prof. Kwadwo Koram indicated that the Relacs workshop was the result of discussions with the French Embassy held earlier this year. He said the workshop is a collaborative effort focusing on building capacity for the control of Helminths and its Co-Infections. Prof. Kwadwo Koram disclosed that the findings of the workshop would be forwarded to the Ministry of Health  for policy formulation and implementation.

Research Fellow at the Parasitology Department of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Dr. Williams Kofi Anyan, explained that there are over 5 million cases of Helminths and its Co-Infections in Ghana. The disease, he said is caused by human water contact behavior from direct water bodies (i.e. fishing, fetching water, swimming).  Features of the disease include stunted growth, enlargement of the liver and spleen, bloody urine among others. Dr. Anyan indicated that the disease is dangerous because it can lead to ectopic pregnancy, infertility and reduced production of seminal fluid.

According to the Deputy Director of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and Local Coordinator for the Relacs Network, Prof Kwabena Bosompem, it was important for the network to collaborate and share experiences. In that regard, the workshop was to bring together scientists and researchers from the various countries to conduct specialized research in Helminths and its co- infections to provide evidence based information that can help health systems in the member countries.

Prof Kwabena Bosompem

Researcher at the Department of Parasitology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Netherlands, Dr. Lisette van Lieshout underscored the importance of such meetings for young scientists to meet, share ideas and form new collaborations. She charged the participants to utilize whatever they learned from the workshop in order to make them great scientists and researchers in future.

Prof Koram & Dr. Lisette van Lieshout

Executive Secretary of Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Mr. Okyere Boateng, speaking on Health Research Ethics advised the participants to adopt best practices in research such as confidentiality especially when working with human participants to promote trust among the researchers and their human participants and build credibility for their work.

Mr. Okyere Boateng making a presentation

The 5-day workshop, brought participants from, Mali, Gabon, Benin and Ghana; with funding from France.

Participants at the workshop