Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology

The Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana, is home to the Skin NTDs Research Group, let by Professor Richard Odame Phillips.

The research team is made up of physicians, laboratory research scientists, study nurses, physiotherapists, Disease Control Officers (DCOs), pharmacists, social scientists, economists and a network of Community Based Surveillance Volunteers (CBSVs) in the disease endemic communities in Ghana. The team undertakes research into NTDs of the skin predominantly Buruli ulcer, yaws, leprosy, scabies, and their coinfections. Its main field of interest is in patient management through clinical trials, diagnostics and clinical immunological studies supported by basic sciences. Notable achievements include:

  • Contributed to the change of Buruli ulcer treatment from surgical interventions to the use of all oral antibiotic therapy through clinical trials and other clinical studies (Rifampicin / Streptomycin – Rifampicin / Clarithromycin)
  • Tested, optimised and evaluated the use of Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) for diagnostic confirmation of Buruli ulcer
  • Carried out studies that confirmed the presence of Mycolactone in human tissue after M. ulceransinfection and showed its reduction in response to antibiotic administration
  • Established a network of clinics in endemic districts for care of patients with Buruli ulcer
  • Led the implementation of WHO approved BU-01 form for the collection of clinical, demographic data and monitoring of treatment adherence in Buruli ulcer patients
  • Lead role in decentralization of care for Buruli ulcer and related NTDs in Ghana
  • Provided first data to show the mental health and quality of life burden in Buruli ulcer patients and highlighted the need for further action
  • Established a multiplex recombinase polymerase assay for simultaneous detection of Treponema pallidum and Hemophilus ducreyi
  • Development of suitcase lab for Buruli ulcer diagnostics
  • Partnership with National programmes to provide laboratory support for diagnosis of BU and yaws for selected districts in Ghana
  • Evaluated a field-based point of care diagnosis for Buruli ulcer and schistosomiasis
  • Trained a cadre of junior scientists and other health workers
  • Capacity building of local health staff including clinicians, nurses and surveillance volunteers to enhance their knowledge and skills for skin NTD services