From NAMRU-3 Public Affairs
Lt. Nehkonti Adams, the new Officer in Charge of the NAMRU-3 Ghana Detachment in Accra, visited the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3) in January. She attended briefings on the major programs and visited the NAMRU-3 offices that work with the Ghana Detachment.
This visit has been a great “eye-opener,” said Adams, “The original plans were for me to visit NAMRU-3 for orientation and check-in before reporting to the detachment in Ghana, but because of the evacuation I reported there directly. I am now aware of the full capabilities and abilities of NAMRU-3 to test for various pathogens causing infectious diseases. I was also impressed with the extent of the organization’s capacity building projects around the Middle East and Africa. Now with a better understanding of how the Ghana Detachment fits into the organization, I understand where I fit in as well. ”
The Ghana Detachment is part of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, with a laboratory and administrative spaces where the detachment’s manager and technicians work.
“It is a profitable collaboration that generates great scientific work to help address various infectious diseases which affect the people of Ghana,” said Adams. “We also have an administrative office at the U.S. Embassy. My staff and I participate in community outreach projects at the Embassy to further the U.S. mission’s goal in Ghana. We recently participated in a disaster preparedness fair and I hosted a Peace Corps Volunteer for Thanksgiving and sponsored orphans for the holidays. We want to be a part of the Embassy team.”
She credited Capt. Buhari Oyofo, NAMRU-3 commanding officer, with having had a positive impact on relations with the Ghanaians. “They feel we are truly dedicated to our mission there,” Adams said.
Adams has a distinct “in” while working in West Africa. A native Liberian, she came to the United States as a child. “I think it’s certainly an advantage to share a similar cultural background which allows work relationships to come easily,” said Adams.
“Taking this post is a way for me to give back by building capacity in West Africa,” said Adams.