SPARCo Ghana

SPARCo Ghana Member: Dr. Vivian Paintsil

Dr. Paintsil is a Specialist Paediatrician at the Child Health Directorate of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. She has been taking care of children with sickle cell for the past 13 years. Her work involves clinical care of paediatric sickle cell patients at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital which is a tertiary referral center in Ghana. She is in charge of training at the sickle cell clinic. She has gained extensive experience in undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and in clinical research. She was involved in the Newborn Screening for SCD patients in Kumasi.

She is currently the Principal Investigator in the longitudinal study 'Organ damage in sickle cell disease study' in which children from birth to 15years are monitored closely and all acute illness documented. We also intend to identify from prospectively-collected and stored samples, candidate and novel genetic and biochemical markers of specific organ dysfunction. Dr Paintsil obtained her B.Sc Human Biology in 1996 from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and then MB. ChB in 1999 also in KNUST.

She also has a Diploma in Project Design and Management by the Liverpool School of tropical Medicine in 2008. She completed her fellowship in Paediatric Haematology/Oncology at the Red Cross Childrens Hospital in Cape-Town, South Africa. She is also a fellow of the West African College of Physicians (Paediatrics). She also has a certificate in Health Administration and Management.

Dr. Sarfo is a researcher, a clinician and an educator. He practiced as a Neurologist from 2010 to date and holds 2 doctoral degrees in Epidemiology and Molecular Medicine from Durham University UK and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology respectively. In 2010, he started a Neurology clinic at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi where he led in providing services for a population of 12 million Ghanaians in the middle and northern sectors of the country as the only practicing neurologist for this sector of Ghana. He is passionate about context-specific research as a way of fashioning out locally relevant solutions to the health challenges of my society. His research focus is on Stroke in the sub-Saharan African context.

Dr. Sarfo is currently the Kumasi site lead-Investigator on the SIREN (Systemic Investigative Research and Education Network) project which is the biggest study on stroke in sub-Saharan Africa investigating the traditional and emerging risk factors of stroke as well as characterizing the genetic markers of stroke. Understanding the incidence prevalence determinants and risk modifiers of stroke occurrence among individuals with Sickle Cell Disease has received little attention in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Ghana Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium Collaborative Sites (GHANA SPARCO) therefore seeks to characterize the determinants etiologic subtypes outcomes and sequelae (functional status cognitive impairment quality of life) of incident and recurrent strokes across the lifespan of patients with SCD. This sub-aim is embedded in our overall goal of to establish a prospective cohort of 6 000 individuals living with SCD across the lifespan with a dual purpose of understanding the determinants of the protean manifestations of acute and chronic complications of SCD in a resource-limited setting while conducting implementation research to address " surmount & integrate the best resource-based standards of clinical care for SCD with a vision towards establishing hubs of excellence for research and care for SCD in Ghana.

Mr Evans Xorse Amuzu is Ghana Site Coordinator for the Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO). He is a Health Research Officer with experience in managing hospital-based and community based observational and interventional studies. After his undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, he worked with the Research and Development Unit of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) where he developed skills in research and administrative procedures. He also successfully completed a Professional Diploma in Project Design and Management (DPDM) awarded by the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) that is being run at KATH in collaboration with the School of Medical Sciences of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (SMS-KNUST) after which he was engaged as a Facilitator and Administrator from 2015.

He provides technical assistance to staff of KATH in their research projects and also training of other junior officers in research skills. Evans also has a special interest in Health Informatics and has designed and currently manages the database being used by the Paediatric Oncology Unit to track its patients' attendance. He has also designed e-questionnaires being used to collect data on the pilot Hydroxyurea treatment for Sickle Cell Patients. He has appreciable knowledge in Microsoft Office Suite, Stata, Epi-Info, Redcap, Filemaker Pro, and Open Data Kit software.

SPARCo Ghana Member: Mr. Isaac Nyanor (Data Manager)

Mr. Nyanor holds a Bachelor of Science (Statistics) and a Masters of Public Health (MPH) in Population and Reproductive Health from Ghana. He has been a Research Associate (Data Analyst) with the Research and Development Unit of Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) where he has assisted in both clinical and non-clinical researches in the Hospital. He is a Marker and Assistant facilitator (Data Management) for the Diploma in Project Design and Management Course, a collaboration between KATH, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK.

He has worked as Data Analyst for the Pediatric unit of KATH, Students’ Learning Abroad Programme of Barekuma Collaborative Community Development Project (BCCDP), and Partnership for child nutrition in Africa: Improving food consumption patterns and nutrition: Status of school children aged 6 to 14 years to address NCDs in Ghana, Kenya & Zambia (PCN-Africa) Isaac Nyanor was part of the Agogo team who went to Nairobi, Kenya on a phase III, double blind (observer-blind), randomized, controlled multi-center study to evaluate, in infants and children, the efficacy of the RTS,S/AS01E candidate vaccine against malaria disease caused by P. falciparum infection, across diverse malaria transmission settings in Africa.

He has experience in using statistical software such as STATA, R, Epi Info, Microsoft Access, Epi data and ODK collect for developing database, capturing, managing and analyzing data. Isaac is passionate about the course of improving peoples’ live through a collaborative effort. His research has focus on community development efforts primary involving research capacity building, data quality, health education and promotion, Child and Maternal Health and early detection and management of chronic diseases such as Hypertension and diabetes.

SPARCo Ghana Member: Dr. Paul Obeng

Dr. Paul Obeng is a specialist clinical Pharmacist in Paediatric Haematology Oncology at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. He graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) with Pharmacy degree and Master of Public Health. He has completed his Fellowship in Clinical Pharmacy at the West Africa Postgraduate College of Pharmacists (WAPCP) and currently the Head of Pharmacy in Paediatric Haematology Oncology at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital.

He has successfully finished his Doctor of Pharmacy and doubles as the adjunct lecturer at KNUST, WAPCP and Ghana College of Nurses and Midwifes. He has extensive training in clinical trials at the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research (NIBR), Cambridge USA and currently the study Pharmacist at the Kumasi Center for Sickle Cell Disease (KCSCD). He has been involved in clinical trials including the Severe Malaria in African Children (SMAC), AQUAMAT and Barekuma Multinutrient trial. He is a member of the Sickle Pan-African Research Consortium (SPARCO) and Skills and Standard Care Working Group.

With his extensive research and knowledge in Hydroxyurea (HU), he has been the focal Pharmacist involved in the design and implementation of HU protocol for the management of patients with SCD in the sickle cell unit. He is a consultant Pharmacist for the Hydroxyurea Working Group established by Novartis/Sandoz. He is an active member of the International Society of Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners (ISOPP) and International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP).

Prof Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, M.D., was born in Ghana and came to the United States in 1966 to attend Yale University. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology in 1970. After graduating from the Yale School of Medicine in 1975, he trained in Pediatrics at the New York Hospital - Cornell Medical Center, and in Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (1977-80) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Following a 6-year service at Tulane University Medical Center to develop a Sickle Cell Disease Program in Louisiana, he returned to CHOP in 1986. Dr. Ohene-Frempong has organized and been involved in several research projects through the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at CHOP and is devoting an increasing amount of time to sickle cell disease program development in Africa.

In Ghana, he developed the first public health program for screening newborns for sickle cell disease in Africa. With assistance from the government of Brazil, he is working with Ghanaian colleagues to scale up the newborn screening project into a national program. Ghana launched its National Newborn Screening Program for Sickle Cell Disease in November 2010 with Dr. Ohene-Frempong as the Program Coordinator. Dr. Ohene-Frempong is now Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, Senior Scientist and Attending Hematologist, and Director Emeritus of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. He is also President of the Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana and a founding member of the Global Sickle Cell Disease Network.

In 2010, Dr. Ohene-Frempong chaired the Organizing Committee for the 1st Global Congress on Sickle Cell Disease held in Accra, Ghana. In his work in Ghana, he is collaborating with colleagues in the US, UK, Canada, Brazil, and throughout Africa to strengthen both the public health and laboratory aspects of the National Newborn Screening Programme.

With profound sadness, we learned of the passing of a giant in the Sickle Cell Disease field, on Saturday 7th May 2022 in the USA. Prof Kwaku Ohene-Frempong, affectionally known as “KOF”, following a short, and dignified fight against an aggressive cancer.

KOF has been a global leader in the field of Sickle Cell Disease, long before many of us can remember, he has trained generations of physicians all over the World and published landmark research that still informs, today, the care of people living with Sickle Cell Disease Worldwide. He initiated the first newborn screening for Sickle Cell Disease in Africa, in his native Ghana. In the past two decades, his focus on improving the prevention and care of SCD in Africa grew tremendously, through his active participation in numerous research and clinical care projects, and philanthropic initiatives. At the time of his passing, he was the co-chair of the Steering Committee of the SickleInAfrica Consortium.

His guidance, knowledge, passion, dedication, commitment, and engagement for the cause of all people living with Sickle Cell Disease will be sorely missed.

May his generous soul rests in peace.