Dr Mary Abboah-Offei’s study has been backed by a £1.5m grant

Date posted

18 April 2024


A study led by Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) will look at how health care for people living with HIV/AIDS in Ghana can be improved – after securing a major grant of around £1.5m.

The trial of community-based, person-centred care will see healthcare professionals trained to offer a more holistic way of managing the condition.

The study, titled ExtraCECI (Extra community-based enhanced care intervention) aims to recruit around 650 patients. A smaller feasibility study of CECI suggested that participants felt the approach had the potential to improve their quality of life.Dr Mary Abboah-Offei

ExtraCECI is now set to get underway in May, after being backed by £1,468,810 in funding from the Medical Research Council.

Led by Dr Mary Abboah-Offei (right) from ENU’s School of Health and Social Care, it will also involve academics and researchers from Kings College London, the University of York, and the University of Ghana.

If successful, the research could provide evidence to help make ExtraCECI a part of routine HIV/AIDS care in Ghana.

Dr Abboah-Offei, who is from Ghana, began her journey in healthcare research by working as a nurse in emergency care there.

This grant – one of the largest of its kind for an ENU researcher – represents a significant achievement for an early career academic with a background in nursing.

Dr Mary Abboah-Offei said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to begin this study. Having previously worked in healthcare in my home country, this feels like a way of giving back.

“Our previous research found that people living with HIV/AIDS there were experiencing distressing symptoms and concerns, even while taking their medication. This person-centred intervention approach aims to improve that.ExtraCECI training session in Ghana

“We found that patients were thrilled to have the opportunity to have a say in their treatment – while healthcare professionals found it eye-opening.

“I hope this wider trial can lead to a better quality of life for people living with these conditions.”

ExtraCECI will see medics from randomly selected HIV clinics trained to give a holistic assessment of the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual wellbeing, of their patients. This will then allow them to work together to plan and deliver their care.

Information will then be collected at regular intervals to see if the person-centred approach to care brings about any improvement in health outcomes.

Professor Andrea Nolan, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “Securing such a significant level of backing for this programme of work is a major achievement for Mary.

“Given her background in nursing, she will be well aware how ExtraCECI has the potential to make a positive difference to people’s lives in Ghana.

“Mary’s colleagues at Edinburgh Napier University will support her and the multidisciplinary team to deliver successful outcomes.”