Three Ghanaian PhD students win AfDB research grant


Three Ghanaian PhD students, including one female, have received a $35,000 research grant each from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to research on vaccines therapies, and diagnosis to combat emerging infectious diseases.

The beneficiaries are the first batch of 20 PhD and MPhil students earmarked to undertake cutting-edge discovery and transnational research as part of the Post Covid-19 Skills Development and Productivity Enhancement Project (PSDPEP).

The research grants, which is a component of the $28million five-year PSDPEP project, will support innovative research using synthetic peptides, monoclonal antibodies, and natural products.

The main objective of the project is to contribute to Ghana’s sustainable post COVID-19 recovery in the health sector and support the restoration of livelihoods, income and employment opportunities and private sector development.

Mr Justice Amankwah Mensah, the PSDPEP Project Coordinator, presented the grants to the first three beneficiaries at a ceremony in Accra on
Friday.

Mrs Josephine Banini, a medical laboratory scientist at the Ashiaman Municipal Hospital, and a PhD student at the University of Ghana, is researching on the topic: ‘Exploring Anti-Mycobacterium activity of selected natural plants extracts in Ghana: Identification of active compounds and evaluation of safety.’

Mr Lennox Mac-Ankrah, a lecturer at the University of Health and Allied Sciences, is researching on the topic: ‘Mutations within and flanking the integrase gene in people living with HIV on Dolutegravir-based antiretroviral therapy.’

The last beneficiary, Mr Saeed Alhassan, a lecturer at the Accra Technical University, is researching on the topic: ‘Antimicrobial efficacy of medicinal plants and peptide against multi-drug resistant bacteria.’

Presenting the grants, Mr Mensah, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the Social Investment Fund, the implementing agency for the Project, congratulated the three PhD students and encouraged them to take advantage of the facility to contribute to i
mproving Ghana’s health and research architecture.

‘This is a project with timelines and, therefore, work hard and be determined to complete your programmes within the set timelines – that is 2027.’

Reverend Professor Kwamena Sagoe, Project Lead, PSDPEP, Department of Medical Microbiology, University of Ghana, announced that the second call for research grants, will end on March 29, 2024.

He said the Project would prioritise women, persons with special needs, and applicants who are already working in institutions, adding that an amount of $450,000 had been designated to the training and research component of the Project.

‘We encourage young ideas; people with brilliant ideas (to apply). We want to create the platform and help you bring the ideas to support our health delivery system,’ Prof. Sagoe said.

Mrs Banini expressed excitement over her selection to pursue the research and encouraged the team to work effectively to generate outcomes that would shape the country’s health system.

‘We want to check i
f the local plants that we have can be an alternative source to treat tuberculosis,’ she said.

In June 2022, the Government of Ghana signed a five-year (2022-2027) agreement with the AfDB to implement the PSDPEP. The Project is being funded from a grant facility of $US 28.5 million from the AfDB.

The Ministry of Finance is the Executing Agency whilst the SIF is the Implementing Agency for the project.

Other implementers of the Project are: Ghana News Agency, Department of Medical Microbiology, Biotechnology Centre School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Ghana and the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre.

Source: Ghana News Agency