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Support for outstanding laboratories in Ghana for monitoring and eliminating neglected tropical diseases

The project is carried out in 15 districts in Ghana in collaboration with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Chemistry Departament Laboratory, both of the University of Ghana, Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research. The project's aim is to improve the diagnosis of Buruli ulcer (BU), leprosy and yaws, through strengthening the three laboratories mentioned above.

The World Health Organisation has as one of its objectives for 2020 the control, elimination and eradication of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These diseases occur within the context of extreme poverty, they permanently reduce human potential and 75% of those affected are children under 15 years of age. If they are not detected and treated in time, they produce irreversible damage, causing permanent physical disability.

Ghana is a country where Buruli ulcer, leprosy and yaws, are endemic, Anesvad, as part of its integrated program, collaborates with the above-mentioned laboratories in the country to improve and speed up the diagnosis of Buruli ulcer, leprosy and yaws, which will translate into a health improvement for the people living in rural communities, making significant savings at personal, family and community levels and improving the National Health System.

The project's aim is to strengthen, speed up and improve, the diagnosis of Buruli ulcer (BU), leprosy and yaws, by the three laboratories mentioned above.

To achieve this the following activities will be carried out:
  • Purchasing laboratory material used for f-TLC (thin layer chromatography) analyses.

  • Purchasing the equipment necessary to carry out analysis and diagnosis using the f-TLC method.

  • Workshops to harmonise and standardise operational processes. Training on quality control, sample collection and transport will also be provided, as well as on producing the necessary documentation for the different processes.

  • Training of health technicians and personnel for each district so they can familiarise themselves with the processes involved in collecting, handling and labelling samples and the importance that said processes be carried out in accordance with WHO standards. These workshops may be replicated in other districts in the future.

  • Improving the mechanisms for transmitting samples and providing technical support to the laboratories.

  • Oversight and monitoring by the laboratories of the 15 districts.
These activities will bring about an improvement in the efficiency of the diagnosis of the three diseases in the three laboratories working at the national level in Ghana, impacting poor rural communities, who will see that in many cases these diseases can be detected and cured, improving people's access to health care and strengthening the national health system in Ghana.

The project's expected outcomes are:
  • Establish standard, harmonised operating procedures in the three benchmark laboratories.

  • Strengthen the capacities of health workers and laboratory technicians.

  • Improve case confirmation and quality control processes.

  • Improve supervision and monitoring.

The project is part of a broader program carried out by Anesvad with the Ghana Health Service directed against the three diseases with a new integrated approach, addressing the three most prevalent neglected tropical diseases in the country, in order to reduce the long-term pain and burdens these diseases produce today.

The direct beneficiaries are 1,107,777 people, corresponding to the rural population of the 15 districts addressed by the project.

Regarding indirect beneficiaries these would be 20 million people, 70% of the population of Ghana.