The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, has reiterated management’s and the government’s commitment to supporting the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research in sustaining its very important contributions to the country.
Speaking at the launch of the 2022 Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) annual research meeting on the 17th of November 2022, the Vice Chancellor commended and acknowledged the work of members at the facility on their contributions to health in Ghana and Africa.
“The Institute has impacted positively and significantly in the healthcare sector in Ghana and beyond and continues to play leading roles in health research, policy, decision and practice. I seize this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of every member of this Institute, including its administrative staff, researchers, the current and past directors. I appreciate you for your leadership. Management is committed to ensuring that the Institute get the necessary support from the University and the Government of Ghana to sustain the good work the Institute is noted for and to contribute to innovation in healthcare delivery while serving as a national asset for specialized capacity building in the country and the subregion”- She said.
The program was a two-day event themed “Epidemics, Pandemics, and Diseases of Public Health Importance: Bridging the Research-Policy Divide,” and was aimed at providing a forum to present findings from cutting-edge research while stimulating intellectual exchanges among researchers, health practitioners, policymakers, and the public on their national health policy implications.
Special guest at the launch, Presidential Coordinator for the COVID-19 Response Programme, Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, revealed that securing funds for research and getting people to collaborate on the research, among others, are frustrations some researchers go through before successfully carrying out their research.
“It’s not easy, as they say. Being a researcher, though, it can be very rewarding. It can also be frustrating. Someone identified four main areas of frustration. The first is the frustration of securing funding for research. And I know this keeps many researchers awake at night. The second is the frustration of getting people to collaborate with you in the conduct of the research. As soon as people get to know you’ve secured a research grant, they begin to look at you as a donor much worse, and they even look at you as an ATM machine.
The third is the frustration of getting your work published. The backward and forwards with general editors can be killing. The fourth frustration is to do with the nonuse of research Findings and Recommendations in Policy Formulation. we all know about excellent research reports that are covered in dust, buried in cemeteries of offices and libraries,”-He said.
He also added that understanding the policy-making process and engaging policymakers, among other things, are some strategies for ensuring the uptake of research data for policy formulation.
“My first suggestion or recommendation is as researchers, and we also need to get interested and have a richer understanding of the policymaking process. My second recommendation or suggestion is related to engagement the need to engage policymakers. Fortunately, policymakers are not completely naive when it comes to research. They do appreciate research, but they do not always appreciate that research takes time. Someone said in general, policymakers tend to treat research as the drunkard treats the lamp post, not for illumination but for support, so most of the time, policymakers are looking for research that will support their conviction.
My third recommendation is to do with how to improve the relevance of the research we do as researchers, and we do research for different reasons. But for the policymaker, there’s only one reason for research to offer solutions. So there is a big cultural difference. And that is why it’s important that even in the selection, in selecting the topics, they need to be engaged,”- He said.