The University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) is to establish an in-patient clinal trial unit, the first of its kind in West Africa (W/A).
The facility will improve on healthcare delivery not only in Ghana but across the sub-region, when operationalised. It will serve as the sole internationally certified laboratory for clinical trials in West Africa to aid in generic analysis for the development and manufacturing of new drugs tailored for Africa.
The facility, which will attract trial samples from neighboring countries, will have a training centre for medical students and specialists alike.
Chief Executive Officer, UGMC, Prof. Darius Osei, explained that the investment is expected to address the current situation where samples are sent to South Africa for trials and by the time results arrive patients sometimes give up the ghost.
In addition, it will support drug manufacturers to carry out trials in West Africa to aid in drug development, making drugs effective for he African market.
“Africa alone has more genetic diversity than the rest of the world put together but unfortunately, when new drugs and vaccines are being developed, trials are not carried out on the continent. This facility will bridge that gap and enable homegrown trials,” he said.
Director of Research at the UGMC, Prof. George Boateng Kyei, explained that the first-of-a-kind in-patient clinical trials facility will give room for African-tailored drugs with improved efficacy rates.
He added that laboratories like Noguchi Memorial Institute, Korle-Bu, and others in the country and the sub-region are only able to perform out-patient clinical trials which is not the standard for such exercise.
He revealed that big global pharmaceutical companies are eager to perform clinical trials in West Africa but lack of international standardized facilities remains the major challenge.
The facility, which is estimated at US$5 million, is expected to start operation by the end of the year 2023.
with the appropriate support from corporate Ghana and the use of crowdfunding means.
To raise sufficient funds for the project, a corporate partner to the project, IT Consortium Ltd, has developed a crowdfunding platform, the Chango App, for the public to contribute their widow’s mite, having donated GH₵150,000.
Several other corporate and local pharmaceuticals entities present at the project’s fundraising and fifth-anniversary commemoration launch, including Tobinco Pharmaceuticals, Special Ice Mineral Water and the East Legon Executive Club, also pledged support for the project..
A board member UGMC and chairperson of the occasion, Prof. Solomon Acquah, in his remarks, said: “I look forward to the day that any patient that walks through the treatment halls of UGMC is subject of study for healthcare delivery improvement”.
The UGMC also launched its fifth anniversary celebration.
Within the past five years, the UGMC has chalked great success in healthcare delivery in the country including being the host of the largest simulation centre in West Africa. It also boasts about 46 clinics in the facility.