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Danida alumni wins University of Ghana Award

A PhD that changed how the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital treats newborns with infections has awarded its writer, Danida alumni, Seth Kwabena Amponsah, with an award.


Danida alumni, Seth Kwabena Amponsah, won University of Ghana Vice-Chancellor’s Award for the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation in the Sciences, on 24th February 2017.

The study monitored antibiotic (amikacin) levels in the blood of newborns with infections at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana. A high proportion of newborns admitted to the NICU had blood amikacin levels below or above the optimal. To optimize amikacin therapy, a high dose and an extended interval was recommended.

Based on recommendation from Seth’s study, the NICU, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, has changed the dosing of amikacin.

 “I chose this subject because in most resource-poor settings, there is a high risk of acquisition of infections by newborns as a result of poorly implemented infection control measures. Data also suggest that infections rank high among causes of neonatal death in most resource-poor countries. Furthermore, neonates admitted at Neonatal Intensive Care Units display differences in gestational age, weight and comorbidities, and this can affect the disposition of antibiotics administered to them. Therefore, to optimize antibiotic therapy, there is a need to monitor drug levels, and adjust dose appropriately. This monitoring is rarely done in most resource-poor settings,” Seth Kwabena Amponsag says.

Dr. Amponsah’s PhD was sponsored by the Health Platform of Building Stronger Universities (BSU) in Developing Countries Initiative, a Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) funded collaboration between Danish Universities and University of Ghana.

“My research has brought a dosing modification at the NICU, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, which is gratifying, the award is an indication that my effort is appreciated. I also see the Award as stepping stone to far greater achievements, in my journey as a researcher,” says Seth Kwabena Amponsag when asked what the award means to him.

Dr. Amponsah’s thesis was titled “Amikacin treatment with or without aminophylline in neonates with suspected sepsis at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital: a pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic study”.

The doctoral dissertation was supervised by Prof. George O. Adjei (University of Ghana), Prof. Christabel Enweronu-Laryea (University of Ghana), and Prof. Jorgen A. L. Kurtzhals (University of Copenhagen).