Employing institution: Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana
Host institution: Experimental Immunohaematology Department of Sanquin, Netherlands
Project title: Development of an ethnically appropriate red blood cell antibody testing protocol to identify alloantibodies in transfused patients in Ghana
Dr (Mrs) Lilian Antwi Boateng received her PhD training in blood transfusion from the University of Liverpool, sponsored by the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, United Kingdom. She is currently a senior lecturer and researcher in the Department of Medical Diagnostics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. Her research is focused on understanding red blood cell alloimmunisation and its implications for Ghanaian patients. She further explores feasibility, scale-up and sustainability studies for integrating RBC antibody testing into routine pretransfusion tests, in an economical manner.
IRed blood cell alloantibody formation is acritical complication of blood transfusion therapy. However, in Ghana, screening for RBC antibodies is not routinely performed, putting transfusion recipients at risk of haemolytic transfusion reaction. Furthermore, standard RBC panels for alloantibody screening are derived from Europeans and are missing antigens that are exclusive to African populations. The AREF fellowship will enable Dr Baoteng to develop an Africa-specific RBC screening panel to improve transfusion safety in Ghana. The knowledge gained through the fellowship will be used to improve the safety of transfusions for patients in Africa and set a precedent for Africa-specific antibody screening. The research findings gathered will also be relevant for blood banks in Western countries by aiding in the management of blood transfusion in Black and ethnic minority populations.
Her training will be at the Experimental Immunohaematology Department of Sanquin, the National Blood Service of the Netherlands and a leading transfusion research centre. Working under the supervision of Prof Dr. C Ellen van der Schoot and Dr. Henk Schonewille, she will receive training in RBC genotyping and the use of flow cytometry for RBC antibody detection. Within the reagent department too, she will train on the methods of the antibody screening reagent which would be adapted locally upon return to Ghana. Her home institution, KNUST, is committed to supporting her training and project execution.
“This fellowship’s training will put me in a position to support and promote quality in blood transfusion in Ghana.”