Professor Margaret Gyapong charts the course for women scientists

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Professor Margaret Gyapong has become the third woman in the world and the first black African woman to receive the coveted Outstanding Women Award from the Partnership for Clinical Trials between Europe and Developing Countries (EDCTP).

EDCTP is known for its laboratory work and support for clinical and vaccine trials around the world.

It recently revised its mandate in its EDCTP2 program to include implementation research that recognizes the role of social scientists in health research.

This makes Professor Gyapong the first social science researcher to receive this award from the world’s scientific body.

The first winner was a gynecologist and the second a biomedical scientist.

Professor Gyapong is Director of the Institute for Health Research (IHR) and Coordinator of the Center for Health Policy and Implementation Research (CHPIR) at the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) , Ho

Professor Gyapong is Director of the Institute for Health Research (IHR) and Coordinator of the Center for Health Policy and Implementation Research (CHPIR) at the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) , Ho, in the Volta region.

It was under his leadership that the center was designated as the World Health Organization’s Satellite Training Center for Tropical Disease Research (WHO / TDR) for implementation research in 2018.

Help humanity
The prize rewards his involvement in research and innovation activities in sub-Saharan Africa.

A medical anthropologist by training, Professor Gyapong is interested in malaria, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and implementation research.

Teacher. Gyapong (3rd from left), with his thesis director, his colleagues and friends during his thesis defense day in 2000 in Switzerland

The EDCTP award also identified her as a research leader, bringing together the experiences of research institutions in Africa, Asia and Europe.

In an interview with The mirrorProfessor Gyapong said she is proud of what she does to help humanity and that being recognized by a global scientific body like EDCTP was no small feat.

Even though she could not pursue her childhood dream of becoming a dietitian due to financial difficulties at the time, she said she did not regret choosing the path of social science as it had offered her so many opportunities to help people for the benefit of society.

Teacher. Gyapong (3rd from left), during one of his fieldwork in Dodowa in the Greater Accra region

“When I’ve read and seen great women succeed and win awards like these, I’ve always dreamed of making it happen, and here I am. This is one of the prestigious awards to be obtained in the field. After being awarded, I got a message on Twitter from a friend who told me that I had raised the flag of social scientists.

“The award means a lot to women and social scientists because it puts us first. I am humbled and grateful to God for bringing me this far, ”she said.

Professor Gyapong said she plans to use her current award to create a fund for bright and needy female students in memory of her late mother, Madame Dora Gertrude Odey Quaye, and to sponsor an award for the most successful female scientist. exceptional at UHAS, where she gives lectures.

Pivot role
On International Women’s Day in March 2021, Professor Gyapong was celebrated by WHO / TDR as one of 15 women who championed mentorship and collaboration among scientists fighting infectious diseases in countries with low and middle income.

This was due to the central role it plays in helping society.

In May of this year, it was ranked by the World Scientist and University Ranking 2021-AD Scientific Index 2021 as number four in UHAS, number 13 in Ghana and 550 in Africa.

In 2017, she was one of 12 women around the world to receive the first Heroines of Health award for her work to bring attention to the needs of women suffering from the consequences of NTDs.

She has also been featured in TDR Global, a branch of the UN / WHO, for some of her achievements in implementation research and work on NTDs.

His great achievements have given him many opportunities to occupy different positions around the world.

Teacher. Gyapong is passionate about the development of women

Professor Gyapong is currently a member of the Board of Directors of Sight Savers, the External Review Board of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the working group for the Advisory Board on the Effectiveness of Global Health Campaigns, of the WHO Scientific and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) on NTDs, the WHO / AFRO Advisory Committee on Health Research and Development and Advisor on Malaria Capacity Building and Training for the Harvard Program TH Chan School of Public Health, WHO Rethinking Malaria.

Encouragement to women
The social scientist encouraged the women and challenged them not to let anything stop them from pursuing their dreams.

However, she cautioned them not to neglect their families as they ascend high in their academic and professional ranks.

“You can’t say because you’re a woman and you have other roles to play, you can’t aim for excellence. Hard work with excellence always pays off. During my studies and work, I encountered a lot of challenges which at one point made me want to give up, but I continued with a lot of encouragement from my family and friends. I always told myself that I would never trade my family against anything, even though I will work hard to achieve a lot for the company, ”she said.

In 2017, she was one of 12 women around the world to receive the first Heroines of Health award

However, she is full of praise for her husband, UHAS Vice-Chancellor Professor John Owusu Gyapong, and their three daughters for their immense support and encouragement in all aspects of his life.

“If there’s anyone who pushed me to do what I couldn’t, it’s my husband. At one point on my school scale, when I wanted to throw in the towel, my husband held me and gave me every reason to stay and achieve what I wanted, ”she said. .

Professor Gyapong (left) is a member of the External Review Committee of the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute

In addition to her many roles, Professor Gyapong is a lay preacher, Sunday school teacher, mother, and counselor.

She is a member of the Tema Joint Church and the RIIS Congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Ho.

University education
She started her primary education at the Swiss School (formerly Ramseyer Memorial School) in Accra and moved to continue second class at Tema Parents’ Association School in Tema from 1971 to 1976. After passing Her joint entrance examination, she was admitted to Aburi Girls’ Secondary School where she continued and passed her ordinary and advanced level courses in general arts (1976-1983).

She has won numerous local and international awards

She went to the University of Ghana to earn a BSc in Home Science, and later a MSc in Medical Anthropology from Brunel University in West London, UK in 1995.

To develop her potential as a public health researcher, she pursued her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Cultural Epidemiology from the University of Basel, Switzerland, between 1997 and 2000.

The social scientist has delivered articles and speeches at various conferences around the world

Prior to joining UHAS in 2017, she spent almost 25 years as a researcher at the Ghana Health Service and was the founding director of the Dodowa Health Research Center from 2005 to 2016, transforming it from a small research station into a internationally renowned research center.

His interests focus on the socio-cultural aspects of tropical diseases, implementation research, health systems, maternal and child health.

It’s family time: Prof Gyapong with his family

The social science researcher is working on NTDs, specifically female genital schistosomiasis, which presents itself as a regular gynecological problem affecting women who attach it to being misdiagnosed and abused as a sexually transmitted infection.

Professor Gyapong is Full Professor of Applied Social Sciences in Health at UHAS and Assistant Professor of Global Health at Georgetown University.

She has 105 publications to her credit in peer-reviewed journals.

Professor Gyapong (3rd from right) at a birthday ceremony at Tema Common Church

She and her husband are fortunate to have three daughters: Akosua (a human resources professional in training), Afia (a doctor) and Yaa (a data analyst in training).

A fervent supporter of Liverpool Football Club, thanks to her husband, Professor Gyapong is grateful to God for never walking alone.

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