The College of Health Sciences at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), is set to host a new German-West African Centre for Global Health and Pandemic Prevention (G-WAC) within its premises in Kumasi.
The G-WAC project that officially started on Saturday, 1st May 2021, with funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) worth about 2.8 million EUR, will be officially launched soon.
The G-WAC is one of eight new DAAD-funded Global Centres for Climate and Health to be established across low- and middle-income countries to address global challenges, with a commitment of approximately 22 million Euros in funding from the German Foreign Office from 2021 to 2025.
The aim of G-WAC at KNUST is to be a Centre of Excellence dedicated to addressing the existential threat of global pandemics to the health and the welfare of people in the West-African sub-region and beyond.
Among other things, the innovative exchange programmes for postgraduate training, which G-WAC will engage in, will provide at least 14 doctoral training opportunities across disciplines.
G-WAC will also offer master’s students and other young scientists the opportunity to study and conduct research at partner institutions in Ghana and abroad.
The Centre also aims to establish a West African policy dialogue on topics relevant to Global Health, Pandemic Prevention and ‘One Health.’
The outgoing German Ambassador to Ghana, Christoph Retzlaff, lauded the initiative and affirmed Germany’s support for the launch of G-WAC in Ghana.
“Germany will support the launch of a new German-West African Centre for Global Health and Pandemic Prevention. It will be in Ghana”, he said.
The Vice-Chancellor of KNUST, Professor (Mrs.) Rita Akosua Dickson indicated that the G-WAC is another demonstration of KNUST’s outstanding history of impactful collaborations with national and international institutions of higher education and research.
“With our combined capacity to address the challenges of pandemic preparedness, expanding our institutional remit to establish a Centre of Excellence as a dedicated effort to advance state-of-the-art research and practice in Global Health, with a focus on pandemic preparedness, is both timely and of potentially great impact not only for Ghana but the rest of Africa”, she added.
The Provost of the KNUST College of Health Sciences, Professor Christian Agyare, explained that the G-WAC draws on the experience and expertise of at least three schools within the College of Health Sciences namely; School of Public Health, School of Allied Health Sciences, School of Medicine and Dentistry and School of Veterinary Medicine, and of two main German partners: the Berlin School of Public Health including Technische Universität Berlin [TUB] and Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, and the University Hospital Bonn (UKB).
The KNUST leadership and management congratulated the Provost, Professor Christian Agyare and the lead applicants at the KNUST College of Health Sciences, Dr. John H. Amuasi, Department of Global and International Health, School of Public Health; Dr. Daniel Opoku, Department of Health Policy, Management and Economics, School of Public Health; Dr. Michael Owusu, Department of Medical Diagnostics, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences; Dr. Linda Batsa Debrah, Department of Clinical Microbiology, School of Medicine and Dentistry; Professor Alexander Yaw Debrah, Dean of the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences; Professor Sam Kofi Newton, Ag. Dean of the School of Public Health; and Professor Benjamin O. Emikpe, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine.