A partnership with the University of Chicago Center for Global Health has become a great success for our work in Ghana. This summer, two (2) research fellows – Thembi Ndebele an MPH candidate specializing in Epidemiology/Global Health and Narvella Sefah of the Medical School University of Chicago, are currently in Ghana supporting the Fibroid Foundation Africa (FibFA), Accra and Sena Institute of Technology (SIT), Penyi-Dzodze in the Volta Region in a research project to assess the prevalence, impact and the genetic/environmental factors of fibroid disease among women in Ghana.
To meet the research objectives, the fellows will review medical records of at least one hospital across the Northern, Ashanti, Volta and Greater Accra regions of Ghana for a comprehensive assessment of the disease in the country. Medical charts will be utilized in the process to determine the prevalence and burden of Uterine Fibroids amongst women in Ghana. They will also conduct interviews with clinicians and focus group discussions with patients to learn about the socioeconomic impact of the disease, its effect on the quality of life of women, and the current treatment options available in the country. The focus groups are a novel way to enable Ghanaian women to have their voices heard which will impact reproductive health policies and help drive public education as well. Additionally, the fellows will work on establishing a cell line to determine the genetic drivers of fibroids and assess the relationship between Vitamin D and the risk of uterine fibroid development. Vitamin D deficiency have been related to high risk of fibroid development in black women of African descent compared to their racial counterparts. We therefore, expect this highly innovative research, the first in Ghana to lead to substantial changes in the reproductive health policy of the country, initiate vitamin D supplementation interventions for women and policy on regular screening of uterine fibroids in young women.
The fellows will be in the country for eight (8) weeks starting from June 10 through to August 18, 2022.