Press releases

Anniversary of the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR)

Hamburg congratulates on 25 years of excellent tropical medicine research in Ghana

Kumasi/Hamburg - The Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR) in Ghana is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a ceremony and a scientific symposium. The research institution is jointly run by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the Ghanaian Ministry of Health and the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM). The basis of the joint venture is a state treaty between the Republic of Ghana and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

KCCR employees in predominantly red T-shirts stand on the balcony of the institute, some waving. In the front, in the middle, stand the scientific director Prof. Phillips and the blonde managing director Ingrid Sobel.
©KCCR

For two days, from 29-30 November, the KCCR celebrates 25 years of successful research on infectious diseases: in the tropics, on the campus of the KNUST University in Kumasi, Ghana's second largest city. At the end of 1997, the Republic of Ghana and the Hamburg Senate had concluded a state treaty that assures privileged conditions for international scientific projects in the country. Subsequently, the KCCR has developed into a major, internationally recognised research institute. It has played a central role in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo, several ministers and Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the King of the Ashanti, the largest ethnic group in the West African country, plan to attend the ceremony on 29 November in the Great Hall of KNUST in Kumasi. The symposium the following day is dedicated to current research topics.

State-of-the-art laboratories

Among the research successes of the KCCR are studies on the spread, genetics and immune response in malaria, the epidemiology of antimicrobial resistances, the treatment of river blindness, research into the genetic causes of a form of hereditary hearing loss, and the treatment of tuberculosis, HIV and neglected tropical diseases.

 

Currently, research is being conducted on the major topics of global health and One Health, as well as on the epidemiology, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. The focus is on malaria, SARS-CoV-2 and tropical skin diseases in addition to antimicrobial resistances.

The picture shows the two-storey main building of the KCCR with light green roof and solar system.
The main entrance of KCCR
©KCCR
The picture shows the inauguration of the entomology wing of the KCCR. A woman and a man cut the red ribbon to the laboratory together. Behind them is a group of African and European people.
Inauguration of the entomology wing
©BNITM / Egbert Tannich
The picture shows three African researchers and one African woman researcher in white coats and light blue gloves working in the laboratory.
In the laboratory
©KCCR
The picture shows a room with shelves containing white insect cages.
The mosquito breeding
©BNITM

The research facility has biosafety level 2 and 3 laboratories, a cold storage, an insectarium and state-of-the-art diagnostic and sequencing laboratories. At the ceremony, a new building block with laboratories to address disease outbreaks is going to be opened.

Sample transport with drones

During the coronavirus pandemic, the institute became one of Ghana's central national diagnostic facilities. As early as the beginning of February 2020, the laboratories started PCR testing of samples from first suspected COVID-19 cases. In addition, the KCCR set up a walk-in station with PCR tests for students, employees, footballers and travelers. Even drones were used to transport patient samples from surrounding districts to the institute. In addition, scientists trained about 300 Ghanaian health workers to collect and safely transport samples.

The picture shows a self-confident middle-aged African scientist in a blue suit with a light blue tie and black-rimmed glasses.
Prof. Richard Phillips, Scientific Director of KCCR
©Richard Phillips

The Scientific Director of the KCCR, Prof. Richard Odame Phillips: "The pandemic was an unprecedented challenge also for the KCCR. After all, our research into One Health and coronaviruses paid off. And 25 years of collaborative research paid off. Pathogens do not stop at borders. We can only achieve global health together. This is the spirit in which we want to continue our work."

The Minister of Science and Deputy Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Katharina Fegebank: "The KCCR has an impressive track record: Within 25 years, it has succeeded in achieving internationally recognised scientific excellence in resource-limited countries. I am pleased that Hamburg has an excellent cooperation with Ghana through the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and the KCCR. This once again underlines the strengths of Hamburg as a science location in infection and One Health research."

A woman with a bob, dressed in a blue dress, stands on the town hall balcony and smiles confidently.
The Minister of Science and Deputy Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Katharina Fegebank
©Daniel Reinhardt / Senatskanzlei Hamburg
A friendly, self-confident and experienced researcher from the European region can be seen.
Prof. Jürgen May, Chairman of BNITM
©BNITM / Dino Schachten

The Chairman of the BNITM Board, Prof. Jürgen May: “At BNITM, the KCCR is particularly close to our hearts. Over the past 25 years, researchers from Ghana and Germany have succeeded in building a leading research institute in Africa, with curiosity, ambition and high personal commitment. We can only master the challenges for global health together, through equal research on an equal footing. We look forward to continuing our sustained collaboration with KCCR in this spirit."

The KCCR now has more than 300 staff, 13 research groups and numerous other research projects. It cooperates with 116 partner institutions worldwide. The number of publications increased from one to three annually in the founding years to 78 in 2022. Further growth is anticipated.

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Background information

The KCCR operates on the basis of a state treaty signed by the Republic of Ghana and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg in 1997. According to this agreement, KNUST makes part of its campus available to the institute and organises the logistical connection to the university. The BNITM provides the basic funding with its federal and state funds from the Leibniz Association. The scientists at the KCCR raise the necessary third-party funds for their research projects. The KCCR research building was constructed and expanded with funds from the Volkswagen Foundation, state institutions and the association of Friends of the Tropical Institute Hamburg e.V.

Contact person

Prof. Dr Richard Odame Phillips

Scientific Director KCCR

Email : info@kccr.de

Prof. Dr Jürgen May (Chair)

Board of Directors

Phone : +49 40 285380-261

Email : chair@bnitm.de

Dr Eleonora Schoenherr

Public Relations

Phone : +49 40 285380-269

Email : presse@bnitm.de