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Advancing non-communicable diseases research in Ghana: key stakeholders’ recommendations from a symposium

Paulina Tindana
Michèle Ramsay
Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch
Mary Amoakoh-Coleman


There has been a growing increase in the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) globally with reports suggesting that the fastest increase in NCD deaths in the world will occur in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) over the next 5 to 15 years. Despite the projected increase in NCD-related deaths, there is little coordinated research in many West African nations, including Ghana, to quantify and study this burden and to translate the research findings into policy and practice. To address these challenges, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research and the Navrongo Health Research Centre, both in Ghana, with support from the Wits NCD Research Leadership Training Program organized a two-day symposium to discuss the advancement of NCD research in the West African sub-region. The aim was to propose the way forward for strengthening applied research that can inform the development of health policies and programs focused on NCDs. Participants were drawn from academia, research and health institutions, early career researchers and postdoctoral fellows. We present the key themes that emerged from the symposium and some strategies for advancing NCD research in West Africa. These include interdisciplinary collaboration between NCD researchers in the region, generation of accurate data on disease burden and strengthening stakeholder and public engagement on NCDs.
Keywords: non-communicable diseases, health research, collaboration, public engagement, network
Funding: Funding for the symposium was provided by NIH Fogarty International Center–Grant number
D43TW008330, under the Wits Non-Communicable Disease Research Leadership Training Program.