KPU research project in Ghana secures federal funding

Tue, Sep 24, 2013

Dr. Charles Quist-Adade with KPU students during the inaugural Ghana Field School in 2011

For immediate release

September 25, 2013

KPU research project in Ghana secures federal funding


Metro Vancouver, BC – An international, multidisciplinary research project based out of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) will launch its first phase this fall after securing a $40,000 Canada-Africa Research Exchange Grant (CAREG).

The 'Diabetic Foot Project (DIFOPRO): A Collaborative Study on Diabetic Foot' will study foot ulcerations caused by diabetes. The goal of the project, a joint initiative partnering KPU with the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, is to develop a knowledge-based system that helps predict the risk of ulceration of patients diagnosed with diabetes through screening, patient education and foot care. The condition known as "diabetic foot" is often treated with amputation and comes with high economic and social costs: Surgery, hospital stay, rehabilitation, prosthetic requirements and the inability to work.

Spearheading the project is Principal Investigator Dr. Charles Quist-Adade, KPU faculty member and chair of the sociology department. He will work with Co-Investigator Stephanie Howes from KPU’s faculty of community and health studies, student research assistants and six colleagues from Ghana’s University of Cape Coast: Four surgeons from the school of medical sciences, a historian from the department of history and an expert in indigenous medical knowledge systems.

"I am thrilled by the good news. The grant will go a long way in realizing my research and academic goals. It has always been my desire to establish a fruitful and an enduring link between KPU and Ghanaian institutions of higher learning for the benefit of students and faculty. As a believer in and practitioner in praxis—blending theory and research— and action research, I have always sought to engage in research projects that will bring practical benefits to my students and deprived members of the community," says Quist-Adade, who for the past six years has worked on various collaborative projects with the University of Cape Coast, the University of Ghana, the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and the Ghana Institute of Journalism.

The study, currently in the initial preparatory and consultation stage, will be conducted in the Central Region of Ghana, where diabetes is endemic, and widespread. The project will identify challenges faced by health officials and policymakers trying to deal with the disease, as well as offer solutions. The number of people suffering from diabetes in that region of Africa is projected to increase from 84 million in 2000, to 228 million by 2030, according to the CAREG proposal; growth that is largely attributed to the increasingly sedentary lifestyle and diet associated with urbanization.

Researchers will look at over a hundred patients, including non-diabetics, diabetics with no calluses or ulcers and diabetics with foot ulceration. The study specifically aims to: Understand the knowledge, attitude and practice of diabetic and non-diabetic subjects; obtain characteristics of a defined diabetic population; gather medical information about foot pressure and heel pad thickness; and design, build and clinically validate a knowledge-based system to predict the risk of foot ulceration.

The project will also strengthen KPU’s international research partnerships with the University of Cape Coast and other Ghanaian educational institutions. Since 2011, Quist-Adade has organized KPU’s Ghana Field School, an international service learning project that has so far sent two groups of students to Ghana to participate in community projects. He has also worked on the Kwantlen-Ghana Collaborative Online Learning Project, the Aklowa (Village) Solar Lantern Project, the Canada-Africa Rural Education Scholarship Scheme, and is preparing to host the third biennial Kwame Nkrumah International Conference at KPU next summer.

Once the research results have been concluded, research will be presented at Canadian, Ghanaian and international conferences, and will be published in peer-reviewed journals. Policy implications will be published in the Ghanaian Medical Journal. The final report will be complete September 2015.

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