NeTroDis is a research group located at the Centre for Research in Applied Biology (https://cerab.uenr.edu.gh/unit/) at the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani in Ghana, West Africa. The group is made up of individuals who are passionate about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) research.
Neglected tropical diseases, are a group of diseases that occur under tropical and sub-tropical climate conditions and are intimately linked to poverty. They therefore thrive in areas where access to adequate sanitation, clean water and healthcare is limited, and people live in proximity with animals and infective disease vectors, such as in remote and rural areas, informal settlements or conflict zones. NTDs affect some of the world’s poorest and most marginalized communities, predominantly in Africa, Asia and the Americas. Though NTDs do cause important local burdens of disease, but individually none of them represents a global priority in terms of numbers of people affected or disability adjusted life years (DALYs) lost. Moreover, global attention tends to focus on killer diseases, although NTDs disable and disfigure more than they kill. DALYs due to NTDs are constituted for 56% by years lost due to disability (YLD) and for 44% by years of life lost (YLL), as compared to 7% of YLD and 93% of YLL for malaria, for example. As a result, NTDs have remained largely neglected in the global health agenda.
At NeTroDis, we believe in the principle of leaving no one behind and in achieving the sustainable development goal number 3 which seeks to achieve health for all, irrespective of their race, culture, gender, creed or location. To this end, we are committed to the global efforts to beat NTDs through research, training, innovation and community engagement. We therefore utilize the one health approach to research because we recognize that all humans, animals and the environment are intricately connected and health for one is health for all.
We engage in both basic and applied research in the fight against NTD. In our basic research themes, we utilize modern molecular biology techniques including PCR, cloning and next generation sequencing, ELISA, CRISPR technology, advanced microscopy etc. to study parasite biology and metabolism, as well as host-parasite relationships with a goal to discover novel proteins which are potential therapeutic, diagnostic and vaccine targets.
For applied research at NeTroDis, we perform epidemiological studies that provide vital data on disease hotspots, zones of co-infections, compliance to Preventive Chemotherapy and Control programmes on NTDs as well as implementation research geared at improving the uptake and access to already available interventions. NeTroDis is also interested in co-infections of NTDs and EIDs (such as COVID-19) and the impact of comorbidities on disease transmission, natural history and clinical outcomes.