The Building and Enhancing Regulatory Capacity in Africa (BERC-Africa) Project is a project funded by the European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership (EDCTP) to build regulatory capacity in Africa. As part of the capacity-building activities under Work Package 3 of this project, an Officer of the Clinical Trials Department at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana, Amma Frempomaa Asare, was nominated to attend an Introductory Course in Epidemiology & Medical Statistics.
To be well-equipped as regulators offering training to others, there is a need for officers of the Clinical Trials Department at the FDA to be trained in areas relevant to the regulation of clinical trials. Activities under Work Package 3 of this project were geared towards capacity-building programmes necessary for the professional development of FDA Officers who are RCORE trainers and assessors of clinical trial applications.
The Introductory Course in Epidemiology & Medical Statistics is a 3-week intensive short course organized by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). The 2023 session of the training took place from 26th June 2023 to 14th July 2023. The course is structured to enable students understand the design and interpretation of epidemiological studies as well as the statistical methods underpinning many of the founding principles in epidemiology. An understanding of epidemiology (the distribution, occurrence, and causes of disease in populations) along with medical statistics, serves as the quantitative foundation for public health. This is relevant because obtaining, interpreting, and using health information helps to reduce illness and disability as well as increase health and well-being among populations.
The training took the form of theoretical sessions delivered through PowerPoint presentations and hands-on practicals/assignments in the form of group breakout sessions and discussions. There was a course evaluation at the end of each topic and an overall course evaluation on the last day of the training. This enabled participants to make some recommendations to enhance future trainings Certificates of participation were also issued to participants.
Due to the lengthy duration and the intense nature of the course, there were some social activities which were planned by the organizers to help participants relax, socialize and enjoy some tourism in London. Places visited included the Thames, the London Eye, and the historical John Snow Pump where epidemiology is known to have begun.
At the end of the course, students gained more understanding of the common pitfalls associated with study designs, enabling them to choose the most appropriate analytical methods to verify stated hypotheses in studies and undertake basic statistical analysis.
Ms. Amma Asare (L) and a colleague participant (R) at LSHTM
Ms. Amma Asare (L) and her colleague participants in a tour of the Thames
A ride in the London Eye
Ms. Asare stands beside the water pump which John Snow in 1854 discovered was the source of the contaminated water responsible for the cholera outbreak in the Soho region in London.