The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons has secured funding of 10 million pound to scale up efforts in research to fight Non-Communicable Diseases in the subregion. The five-year funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, NIHR, will see NCD research in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Niger.

Speaking at the official launch in Accra, the Director for NIHR, Global Health Research Centres West Africa, Prof. Irene A. Agyepong said the grant will be used to provide a sustainable platform for high-quality applied health research in low-middle-income countries to address the burden of NCDs and improve health outcomes.

The Global Health Research Centres for Non-Communicable Disease Control West Africa comprise the Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as the co-lead institutions working in partnership with other institutions namely Ashesi University, Ghana; Catholic University of West Africa Burkina Faso; and Laboratoire d’Etudes et de Recherche sur les Dynamiques Sociales et le Développement Local Niger. Director for NIHR, Global Health Research Centres West Africa, Prof. Irene A. Agyepong

Dr Sylvia Anie, said non-communicable diseases kill 41 million people yearly, equivalent to 74% of all deaths globally and increasingly becoming the main cause of mortality in sub-Saharan Africa, where the diseases were responsible for 37% of deaths in 2019.

She said the grant will improve health, ”by developing the capacity for high-quality research to inform improved prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of inter-connected NCDs”.

Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, said the timing of the grant is apt, ”as it will help the sub-region conduct extensive research in non-communicable diseases which is currently the leading cause of death and disease burden worldwide including in our sub-region”.

The President of Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, Dr Nkrumah Mills, said the problem of funding has been a major headache for the college. He, therefore, charged researchers to help build the capacities of those involved in managing NCDs to win more grants.

The Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons is advocating a Global Health Research Centre for Non-Communicable Disease control in West Africa to address the scourge of NCDs over a five-year period. Through excellent science, comprehensive capacity strengthening and equitable partnerships involving research teams and key stakeholders, we will ensure the longer-term legacy of African-led research for improved policy and practice in NCD control.”