Ghana-Tokyo Medical and Dental University<br>Research Collaboration Program

Ghana-Tokyo Medical and Dental University<br>Research Collaboration Program

Aiming for further development as a joint medical research center between Japan and West-African subregion
West Africa is the region most affected by emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases in the world, and the types of pathogens and the number of affected individuals are outstanding compared to those of the other areas. In Ghana, which is located in the center of West Africa, infectious diseases are severe and variable, and they account for about 1/5 of all deaths. Malaria and diarrhea are particularly severe in children, and overcoming them is a significant public health issue. In recent years, dengue virus has invaded West Africa and is expanding its distribution through repeated small outbreaks. Furthermore, drug-resistant bacteria, which are exploding around the world, are being investigated in detail in Western Europe and Asian countries. However, their types and frequency in Africa are not accurately understood. Buruli ulcer is a disease of high focal prevalence mainly in children in West Africa, including in Ghana, but the number of cases has been increasing in Japan in recent years.

Given this situation, research on infectious diseases in Africa is significant in promoting global measures. Dr. Hideyo Noguchi, the eminent Japanese microbiologist, died of yellow fever in 1928 in Ghana. In commemoration of Dr. Noguchi's achievements, the Japanese government constructed the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research (NMIMR) as a symbolic research facility for medical support for Africa. For the past 40 years, NMIMR has been conducting activities aimed at controlling local infectious diseases through joint research with Japanese research institutes (universities and research institutes). Currently, our university and NMIMR have established a joint research center in Japan Program for Infectious Diseases Research and Infrastructure for research on emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases with the support of the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED). The collaborative research project with NMIMR has been ongoing for 12 years since 2008 through the Japan Initiative for Global Research Network on Infectious Disease (J-GRID) project in Ghana (1st to 3rd phase). In this project, by conducting research on dengue fever and vector mosquitoes, diarrhea caused by rotavirus and drug-resistant bacteria, we are contributing to infectious disease control in Ghana based on the obtained findings.

Under the Japanese Government Scholarship Program, we are accepting doctoral students for the purpose of strengthening human resources development in Ghana. In fact, by 2019, 18 doctoral graduate students have been accepted and obtained PhD degree. In 2016, an inter-university academic exchange agreement was signed between TMDU and the University of Ghana, and a joint degree system is planned to be introduced in the future, further strengthening collaboration in research and education. Conversely, NMIMR accepts the visits from the 4th year medical students and the students of the Department of Health Sciences at TMDU. We carry out a curriculum that allows visitors to observe and participate in local medical care and research, and this curriculum contributes to the training of medical specialists with an international perspective.

Sample collection training from environments by 4th year medical students (Ghana)

Asian-African Research Forum in 2019 (Sapporo)

NEWS

  • The infectious disease research project between TMDU and NMIMR was continued to be supported by T.E.N. Ghana VM25 B.V. during COVID-19 pandemic (2020/12/11)