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Publications & Abstracts


Elliot Koranteng Tannor1, John H. Amuasi1, Wilm Quentin, Reinhard Busse2

Kwame Nkrumah university of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana1

Faculty of Economics and Management at Technische Universität Berlin, Germany2


COVID-19 has had devastating consequences on health systems globally and in low- and lower-middle income countries(LLMICs).  The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed weaknesses in most health systems. Non-communicable diseases(NCDs) increase risk of infection, morbidity and mortality in COVID-19. Health service utilization(HSU) is a reflection of health seeking behaviour of people. The impact of COVID-19 on HSU in the management of NCDs in Ghana and the global south is however unknown. We therefore set out to determine the change in HSU in the management of NCDs during the pandemic and determine the predictors and impact of the pandemic on HSU in the management of NCDs.


A scoping review will be conducted on HSU in LLMIC and Africa with searches of articles from Pubmed, Embasse, Cochrane, African Journal Online, Web of Science, WHO Global Health Library for articles in English and French. We will collect primary data and secondary data from primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Ghana on the admission and outpatient cases of NCDs before and during the pandemic. The study will be conducted from January 2023 to December 2023. A survey will be conducted to determine the predictors of changes in HSU and the impact of the pandemic on HSU.  Interviews and focus group discussion of patients, health staff and institutional heads for qualitative data to explore the barriers to HSU from patient and health care provider perspective.


Data will be generated on the changes in HSU on the management of NCDs and provide recommendations on building strong health systems to lessen the impact of future pandemics on NCDs which are the leading cause of mortality in LLMICs.


COVID-19 may have had significant impact on HSU in the management of NCDs and may have increased morbidity and mortality due to NCDs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Jonathan Gmanyami


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic has been marked by a massive death toll. There is also evidence that some of the pandemic control measures may have inadvertently contributed to increased mortality. However, the overall effect of the pandemic on mortality remains poorly understood in low- and lower-middle-income countries (LLMICs). This study aims to summarize the available literature on excess mortality in LLMICs, focusing on the methods and data sources used in estimating excess mortality, factors influencing excess mortality and excess mortality estimates across socio-economic groupings. The findings of the review will also inform the methods and data source points that will be used in a different study to estimate excess mortality in Ghana and the factors that might have influenced any excess mortality we estimate.

Methods: We will review the literature in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (PRISMA) guidelines. We will search the following electronic bibliographic databases: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, Google Scholar and Scopus. All published studies that will report on the estimates of excess mortality in populations of LLMICs will be included. These will include those with a publication date of 2019 to date and those with at least a one-year non-COVID-19 period as the comparator in the estimation of excess mortality during the pandemic.  

Discussion: This systematic review will provide an overview of the published literature on excess mortality in LLMICs, thus contributing to a better understanding of the impact of the pandemic on mortality. In addition, by providing an overview of some of the highly innovative digital and statistical methods which find relevance in the Global South, it may also inform future analyses of excess mortality. In Ghana, the findings of this review will inform the methods and data source points to estimate excess mortality and to identify the drivers of any excess mortality we will estimate.

Systematic review registration: PROSPERO registration ID: CRD42022378267

Fortress Yayra Aku1,2, Alexander Yaw Debrah3, John Amuasi4, Wilm Quentin5, Achim Hoerrauf6, Linda Batsa Debrah7

1Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, F. N. Binka School of Public Health, University of Health and Allied Sciences, Ghana

2School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology , Ghana

3Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana

4Department of Global Health, School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana

5Department of Healthcare Management, Technische Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany

6Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Parasitology (IMMIP), University Hospital Bonn, Bonn, Germany

7Department of Clinical Microbiology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana


Tuberculosis (TB) remains a public health concern in Ghana coupled with the challenge of low-case notification, which has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to improve this through the use of a TB screening tool at healthcare facilities by healthcare workers have not yielded the desired results. Little is however known about the effect of mhealth applications among community-based surveillance volunteers (CBSVs) in improving TB case detection. This study therefore, aims to test the effectiveness of a mobile interactive voice response system (mIVRS) on TB case notification among CBSVs in Ghana.


A mixed-methods design will be employed for this study. Four districts within the Western Region of Ghana will be randomly selected with two trained on the use of the mIVRS, whiles the other two continue with the standard practice of TB case detection. All information on the reported TB cases, together with the demographic and individual-related characteristics of CBSVs will be collected through interview and records review respectively, at the end of the project implementation. CBVs’ experience and perceptions of the mIVRS in the intervention district will be collected. The outcome measures of interest will include TB case notification between the intervention and control districts, timeliness of sample transportation and treatment initiation and data completeness. Sensitivity will also be computed for the mIVRS districts.

Expected results

The study is expected to generate findings on the effectiveness of using a mIVRs by CBSVs in detecting and reporting TB for informed decisions to be taken by managers of the TB control programme. Further, findings will support the best practices in designing context-specific mhealth tools particularly at the community level. Results will also serve as a baseline assessment of task shifting the TB screening tool among CBSVs in Ghana.

Keywords: Tuberculosis, mIVRs, community-based volunteers, Ghana

Level of research: Proposal stage


Community engagement within health is critical to promoting people-centered health service delivery and achieving primary healthcare. According to US-CDC, Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with and for groups of people affiliated by geographical proximity, special interest, or similar situations to address issues affecting the well-being of those people. It’s crucial to support buy-in and sustainability of health interventions, health advocacy, improved quality, and satisfaction of services, and contribute to health systems responsiveness and strengthening. However, there is concern over the lack of involvement of communities and ‘bottom-up’ approaches used during pandemic responses This study will examine the effects, challenges, and opportunities of community engagement practices targeted at preventing and responding to pandemics in Ghana.


The study will employ both qualitative and quantitative methods to collect data on the processes of implementation of community engagement practices relating to pandemic prevention and responses in Ghana using a range of methods, including  in-depth qualitative interviews with policymakers at national levels, sub-national and at community level. Ii will also include a focused group discussion of marginalised groups in the community and a survey of community members on their views on community engagement.


The result of this study is expected to bring to understanding the process of adoption and policy change with regards to community engagement during pandemic preparedness and response and to understand diverse approaches, strategies and the challenges of the bottom-up implementation of community engagement for pandemic response.

George Agyei1, Philip El-Duah2, Michael Owusu3, Christian Drosten4


1 Department of Clinical Microbiology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

2 Institute of Virology, Charite, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany,

3Department of Medical Diagnostics, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana

4 Institute of Virology, Charite, Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany,

Keywords: SARS-CoV-2, nasopharyngeal sampling, viral load, COVID-19, immunofluorescent assay


severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus-2 (SARS-COV-2) and other respiratory viruses (RVs) are responsible for significant proportions of illnesses and death annually. Several efforts have been made to understand the clinical, epidemiological, and immunological characteristics of SARS-COV-2 and other RVs. The inclusion of molecular epidemiology has added to conventional public health tools used to identify SARS-COV-2 and other RVs. Despite the increasing trend in the emergence of new variants of SARS-COV-2 and other RVs as well as advancements in molecular techniques, a significant gap still exists between Ghana and more advanced countries in terms of molecular characterization of SARS-COV-2 and other RVs variants.


The current study will establish the whole-genome sequencing of the viral specimens by molecular diagnoses which will serve as an analytical strategy to assist in halting the chain of transmission, identifying new variants, or evaluating pathogen evolution, as well as providing real-time statistics on the dynamics of a pandemic. This shall be a housed-based longitudinal study. The population for the study will include individuals above 10 years of age who have symptoms of SARS-COV-2 or other RVs illnesses. SARS-COV-2 and other RVs genomes shall be sequenced.

Expected Results

Various strains detected shall be reported.   A serological analysis will be performed using the serum obtained from the blood and tested for the presence of IgG antibodies to SARS-COV-2 and other RVs using immunofluorescence assay (IFA). Models shall be adjusted for sex, age, residence, education level, occupation, BMI, comorbidities, and CT values. The mean concentration of IgG levels shall be compared within and between locations using one-way ANOVA.


Findings shall provide useful baseline data that will inform further molecular-epidemiological studies on SARS-CoV-2 and other RVs in Africa.


Respiratory viruses (RVs) are a major public health concern for many people around the world. Some respiratory viruses are responsible for pandemics. Pandemics and outbreaks such as SARS-CoV-2, Ebola affect both developed and developing countries. However, some outbreaks such as Ebola affects Africans more than those in the developed world whereas others like COVID 19 in contrast kills more people in the developed world than in African countries. It is well documented that Soil Transmitted helminths infections immunomodulate the immune reaction in infected persons, such that the immune reaction to non-specific stimuli are also suppressed. Furthermore, several studies have shown that filarial infection might influence the incidence and severity of viral infections (Hardisty et al., 2021), but how helminth and virus co-infections influence each other remains unknown. Moreover, helminth antigens significantly reduced the frequency of SARS-CoV-2-reactive CD4+ T helper cells. According to WHO, Africans were far less affected by COVID-19 both in terms of disease prevalence and severity than other continents; on the contrary, Africa has greater proportion of helminthiasis than developed countries. In our study, we believe that helminth-driven immunomodulatory responses may reduce hyperinflammation associated with severe COVID-19. We hope to investigate this idea further by exploring a possible link between helminthiasis and RVs infection severity, as well as the immunological underpinnings of this response. This will be a longitudinal study in western north of Ghana. Clinical parameters will include headache, fever, cough, sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, fever and diarrhea. COVID-19 and other respiratory virus infections will be diagnosed using RT-PCR while Kato-Katz quantitative technique will be used to diagnose individuals for helminthiasis. Blood will be drawn to determine Th1, Th2, Treg and Th17 immune response. PBMCs shall be isolated and stimulated using helminth and viral antigens to check for the T-cell activation. The proportion of disease severity in each group will be the primary outcome. The association between severity of COVID-19 and other RVs infections in relation to coinfection with helminthiasis will be estimated using ordinal logistic regression. Models will be adjusted for gender, age, education level, occupation, BMI, and comorbidities. The mean cytokine concentrations will be compared across groups (single and co-infected patients) and within groups (symptomatic and asymptomatic) using the student t-test. The p-value of significance at the 95% confidence level will be ≤0.05. Findings of this study may justify the need for new intervention strategies as well as vaccine efficacy in Africa.


Abdullateef Ajadi1,*, Afusat Jagun Jibril2, Benjamin Emikpe2

University of Ilorin, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Ilorin/ Kwara, Nigeria1

University of Ibadan, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Ibadan/ Oyo, Nigeria2


Synthetic agents as growth promoters in aquaculture has become unpopular, hence, the need for better alternatives. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of dietary plants on growth performance, haematological, biochemical and oxidative stress parameters in African catfish. Fish were fed on basal diets for 84 days, the control and six other experimental diets containing different levels of Alstonia boonei (0.5%,1.0% and 1.5%) and Mitracarpus scaber (0.5%,1.0% and 1.5%) of the basal diets. Fish were weighed bimonthly, blood samples were collected and analyzed. At the end of the experiment, the final weight (FW), weight gain (WG), Average Daily Growth Rate (ADGR) and Specific Growth Rate (SGR) of fish fed with A. boonei and M. scaber were significantly higher than that of control (P<0.05). The values of RBC and haemoglobin of the M. scaber (0.5%) group were significantly higher than the other groups including the control. The values of Heterophil-Lymphocyte Ratio (HLR) and Platelet-Lymphocyte Ratio (PLR) in the control group were significantly higher than those of the treatment groups. Biochemical parameters and oxidative stress markers did not show any significant difference between the treatment groups and the control (P>0.05). The findings clearly indicated that the plants enhanced growth performance in fish with little or no deleterious effects.

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Abdullateef Ajadi1,2, Theophilus Aghogho Jarikre2, Afusat Jagun Jibril2, Benjamin Emikpe2

University of Ilorin, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Ilorin/ Kwara, Nigeria1

University of Ibadan, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Ibadan/ Oyo, Nigeria2


The present study was carried out to determine the protective effects of two dietary plants and the associated pathology in African catfish exposed to A. hydrophila. Four hundred and twenty fish with average weight of 20.53±0.15 g were distributed equally (in triplicates) into seven experimental groups (six treatment groups and a control group) with 20 juvenile African catfish in each aquarium. Fish were fed for 84 days with control and six other experimental diets containing different percentages of Alstonia boonei (0.5%,1.0% and 1.5%) and Mitracarpus scaber (0.5%,1.0% and 1.5%) of the basal diets. At the end of 12th week, the fish were challenged with A. hydrophila and clinical signs and mortality rate were observed for fourteen days, post challenge. Blood and tissue samples were collected for analysis. All the groups fed with plant supplemented feed had 100% survival rate except A. boonei (0.5%) with 85% and control had 70% survival rate. The dietary plants also improved the haematological parameters and reduced the histopathological lesions associated with A. hydrophila exposure, compared to the control. These findings have demonstrated the protective potentials of A. boonei and M. scaber inculcated in feed against A. hydrophila infection in African catfish.

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