The Department of Audiology, Speech and Language Therapy, School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences, College of Health Sciences of the University of Ghana and Operation Smile Ghana signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the 2nd of June, 2023 to formalize and further expand their already existing partnership in comprehensive educational collaboration. This collaboration will provide quality education, training, capacity building of Speech and Language Therapists and cutting-edge research towards the provision of care to patients born and living with cleft and other facial deformities in Ghana. Long-standing discussions and initial work by Ms. Nana Akua Victoria Owusu, Ms. Josephine Ohenewa Bampoe and Mr. Clement Amponsah, who were the pioneers in establishing the MSc Speech and Language Therapy programme at the then School of Allied Health Sciences since 2020 led to the culmination of this final collaboration between the two institutions.
The Pro Vice Chancellor, in a statement, indicated his high appreciation of the role of Operation Smile Ghana for choosing to assist the development of Speech and Language Therapy in the department in enhancing their faculty capacity, and in the process providing opportunities for international faculty to share their knowledge and experience with University of Ghana as according to him, those are part of the goals of the University as it strives to be a world class University. He also indicated that, it is through partnerships such as this that the University of Ghana can continue to be competitive to set the pace for other universities in Ghana to emulate. He commended the Dean of the School, the Head of Department and staff for their active and engaging role in pushing to get the partnership sealed and encouraged them to push for more.
On his part, the Board Chairman of Operation Smile, Mr. Subhi Accad, thanked the generous funding from the Swedish Postcode Lottery which in partnership with Operation Smile Sweden and Operation Smile Headquarters, for embarking on a 4year project to expand capacity and improving access to speech care delivery across the country.
Mr. Subhi said, the MoU is aimed at sponsoring PhD studies of three (3) members of faculty in Speech and Language Therapy who will contribute to the training and capacity building of Speech Therapists in Ghana. He further reiterated that, the partnership will also support the training of ten health professionals in the MSc Speech and Language Therapy program to expand speech care provision in partner hospitals in the different regions across the country. The MoU, according to him, will contribute to the education of students through Visiting Professors from partner universities, such as the University of Karolinska and Cape Town. Finally, it will augment joint innovative research in speech care in Ghana.
Present at the brief signing ceremony were the Pro Vice Chancellor of University of Ghana, Prof. Gordon A. Awandare, Provost of the College of Health Sciences, Prof. Julius Najah Fobil, Dean of School of Biomedical and Allied Health Sciences, Prof. Samuel Antwi-Baffour, Head, Department of Audiology, Speech and Language Therapy, Dr. Ewurama D. Ampadu Owusu, and the Board Chairman of Operations Smile Ghana, Mr. Subhi Accad as well as other dignitaries from both institutions.