Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ghana, has cut the sod for the construction of a multipurpose Genomic Medicine Building Complex to develop personalised medicines in the country.
Genomic medicine is the study of the genes (DNA) and their interaction with people’s health.
Genomics investigates how a person’s biological information can be used to improve their clinical care and health outcomes through effective diagnosis and personalised treatment.
The catamaran shape building for the West African Genetic Medicine Center (WAGMC) is sited between the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the University of Ghana Medical Center (UGMC) and seeks to continue the development of scientific research.
The complex will reinvigorate impactful research in the applied sciences and humanities, help develop technology-driven and robust processes, strengthen traditional revenue streams, and expand alternative income sources, as well as increase University of Ghana’s visibility.
The first two phases of the project, which include shell and core, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing works is at an estimated cost of GHS 5.7 million and expected to be completed within 14 months.
Prof Nana Aba said it would create a sense of ownership and commitment among students, faculty, staff, and alumni to promote creativity and innovation.
She urged the WAGMC to foster a sense of ownership of the facility among the wider university community.
“I feel very proud of the accomplishment of WAGMC and will continue to support this center as it pushes forward with new programmes with the vision and mission of the University of Ghana,” she stated.
Prof Fiifi Ofori-Acquah, WAGMC Director, added that the ground floor of the catamaran featured an auditorium, an enclosed corridor, an open space for exhibition, a multipurpose laboratory, which comprised of a classroom, 1000 square feet space for research and a genetic health clinic.
Prof Ofori-Acquah also the Dean of the School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences, said it would lead to a long-term goal of translational research arm for high end therapeutics like genetic therapy in partnership with UGMC.
He thanked the committee that played oversight roles and team members for their support so far and for the work they would be doing in the future.
The contractors, Global Management Construction and Five Star Engineering Ltd, pledged to work hard to ensure that the specifics of the project were met.
WAGMC is an African Centre of Excellence (ACE) of Higher Education in the University of Ghana (UG).
It was first established in 2019 under a Performance and Funding contract between the University of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance for the purpose of developing an ACE Impact two for Genetic Medicine with funding from the International Development Association.
WAGMC’s focus is human genetic disorders, notably Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), and other common diseases such as cancers that are acquired through somatic gene mutations.
The long-term goal of WAGMC is to improve knowledge of common human genetic disorders in West Africa, and to improve access to genetic health, specifically in the sub-region through teaching and learning, collaborative research and service, and community and public engagement.