Guest post by Prof Ben Murdin: Volunteering in Ghana

From Weds to Friday last week I visited Ghana to do some volunteering in the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.  I taught some medical statistics as well as grant writing skills to the attendees of the 2nd Annual HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C Conference, which was being held in Kumasi.

The aim of the conference was to improve the knowledge of the clinical and scientific staff about the diagnosis and treatment of co-infection by HIV and the liver disease hepatitis. A specific purpose of this Royal Society funded meeting was to build capacity for local research programmes to determine the prevalence of  liver disease, and of risk factors, such as which HIV treatments improve or worsen the hepatitis, and by how much.

At the same time as the conference, a group from the universities of Liverpool, Middlesbrough and University College London, led by Prof Anna Maria Geretti, were making a study of liver disease in coinfected patients at the hospital, doing liver fibrosis scans and virological blood tests. I was involved in the taking of data from the ultrasound fibrosis scans, and sorting blood samples in the lab. Over 150 patients visited during the week, and 50 health workers from across west Africa came together for the conference.

While I was there I gave a plenary lecture on grant writing skills, and ran a research skills workshop with a significant medical statistics component. Back in Surrey I teach an extended version of this course on the Surrey MSc in medical physics. Finally, I presented two prizes donated by the University of Surrey Physics Department for best performance in medical statistics in the workshop. Both prizes were won by Komfo Anokye staff, one a medical trainee, Ato Williams, and one a nurse, Ofosu-poku Rasheed. They are shown with me, collecting their prize in the picture above.