At the launch and Public Lecture of the Ghanaian Genome Project held on the 24th of August 2022 at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana’s Legon Campus, Professor Solomon FiifiOfori-Acquah gave insightful information regarding the rate and state of children plagued with Sickle Cell Disease and other genetic disorders.
Based on his findings and effort to combat these challenges, Professor Fiifi Solomon Ofori-Acquah is championing the GhGenome project.
The Ghanaian Genome (GhGenome) Project is a genetics health awareness initiative to educate the general Ghanaian population about the importance of genetics in health, wellbeing and diseases.
The project is focused on four main areas: a nationwide public lecture series on the Ghanaian Genome; an in-country free screening of genetic diseases specifically for sickle cell conditions, breast and prostate cancers; a postgraduate genetics training programme- including the first of-a-kind MSc Genetic Counselling programme which has already begun; and the sequencing of the DNA of 1,000 Ghanaian children with severe genetic disorders.
The chairperson of the occasion, Vice Chancellor Professor Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, applauded the laudable initiative ledby the West African Genetic Medicine Centre (WAGMC).
She further congratulated the GhGenome Executive Committee for developing an engaging programme of activities that started with the public lecture at the height of the Ga Homowo festival. She further announced that,
“Activities will move on to grace the shores of Cape Coast and Anloga, in the Central and Volta regions respectively. It will continue to touch the plains of Wa and Tamale in the Upper West and Northern regions, and then to the magnificent trees in the forests of Berekum and Kyebi in the Bono and Eastern regions respectively, and finally to pay homage to the garden city of Kumasi in the month of December, Akwasidae Kese”.
Professor Solomon Fiifi Ofori-Acquah, the director of the project, also revealed the deliberate attempt and success ofengaging traditional leaders in this project.
He explained that, he believed them to be the true custodians of the Ghanaian heritage.
Evidence of this collaboration was seen with Okyenhene, Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin being the patron and with the presence of His Majesty, Gyasehene of Okyeman, representing the Okyenehene Osagyefo Amotia Ofori Panin, His Majesty Nii Nortey Owuo (IV), Osu Mantse and the Korle Gonno Mantse, Nii Tackie Owuowuo IV at the Great Hall during the event.
The GhGenome has additional traditional leaders and paramount chiefs partners from select regions across the country including; Akyem Abuakwa state, Osu Traditional Council, La Traditional Council, Korle Gonno Traditional Council, Oguaa Traditional Council, Anlo Traditional Council, Dagbon Traditional Council, Wala Traditional Council and the Kumasi Traditional Council.
The project has also secured other academic partners such as Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), University of Cape Coast (UCC), University for Development Studies (UDS) and the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS).
Furthermore, other key sectoral partners are supporting the project. Namely; Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana (SCFG) and the Ghana Psychology Council.
Ghana is excitedly embarking on this breakthrough research championed by Professor Solomon Fiifi Ofori-Acquah and the WAGMC team at no cost the Ghanaian so he urges everyone to,
“Take the pledge by getting screened and encouraging others to get screened”.
In the next 5 years, results from this research would have helped reduce the number of children diagnosed with genetic disorders and the negative impact it’s having on the Ghanaian society.
The GhGenome Project
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