Instrumental Access 2016
University of Ghana: Department of Biomedical Engineering
Meet the Department
The University of Ghana is the the oldest and largest of Ghana’s public universities. The Department of Biomedical Engineering was the first department of its kind to be established in Ghana and one of the first on the African continent. Its primary focus is training engineers to address the country’s healthcare challenges. The department provides teaching and practical services to all of the other departments across the university, including medicine, biochemistry, physics, and botany. It is based in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, whose mission is to develop world-class scientists and engineers to meet national and global developmental needs through quality teaching, learning, research, innovation, and extension.
Engineering Practical Healthcare Solutions: Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann
Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann is a senior lecturer and head of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Ghana with an expertise in biomaterials, tissue engineering, and engineering design. She is currently working with students and colleagues to identify and address local problems in healthcare.
“As the problems are local and extremely practical, any solutions have immediate and direct impact on the operation of our healthcare facilities or individuals who have been affected,” Dr. Kaufmann says.
One such project she leads is examining methods to reduce maternal mortality through the study, design, and implementation of simple, affordable devices for use in maternity wards at Ghanaian hospitals.
The Department of Biomedical Engineering’s focus on addressing local problems has attracted attention from students wanting to pursue a biomedical engineering career from US universities with global health programs interested in partnering, Dr. Kaufmann reports. Student interest has been great as well; the department began a graduate program in biomedical engineering in 2014.
“We have had to keep enrollment very low in spite of the great demand for these programs due to the lack of research facilities and faculty,” Dr. Kaufmann says. “Over the next few years, we intend to build capacity to strengthen these graduate programs.”
Dr. Kaufmann holds a PhD in bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.