The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has held its seventh annual general meeting with a call to continually work to attain the feat of becoming a world-class research-intensive institute.
The annual meeting which brought together researchers from within and outside the country was aimed at fostering the uptake and proper dissemination of research information to impact healthcare policy and its practice.
On the theme “Epidemics, pandemics and diseases of public health importance: Bridging the research-policy divide”, the two-day programme was aligned with the vision of the University of Ghana to become a world-class research-intensive institute to contribute meaningfully to the country’s development agenda.
The Director for NMIMR, Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, stated that the institute over the past years had stood on its core mandates to conduct research into diseases of public health importance, provide specialised diagnostics support for global health interventions and to build the capacity of the next generation of young scientists through postgraduate training.
That, she said, had been evident in its lead and active stakeholder role in several global health interventions exemplified during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic -in the early phase of the pandemic it trained more than 40 laboratories to test for COVID-19 in Ghana – and supported the establishment of PR diagnostic capacity.
“With this, I am happy to say that the NMIMR is now one of the Africa CDC Centres of Excellence and a genomic hub responsible for five countries in West Africa – Ghana, Togo, Benin, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” she said.
Prof. Yeboah-Manu indicated that with its achievements over the past years, the institute was grounded to develop and shape the public health policy in the country as she called for the collective support of stakeholders to help in bringing the dream to a realization.
The Presidential Coordinator for Ghana’s COVID-19 Response, Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, in a presentation on the strategies for ensuring the uptake of research data for policy formation, stated that it was important for researchers to deepen their understanding of policy-making processes.
He said it was important to recognize that policymakers were not naïve of research but appreciated it even though most of those policymakers were not usually well versed in research and its perspectives.
The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah-Amfo, stated that the world had over the past two decades witnessed and suffered from emerging and re-emerging diseases, including ebola, pandemic influenza, and measles outbreaks among others, with the most recent being the COVID-19 and monkeypox pandemics.
Those health threats, she said, had collectively resulted in significant loss of lives and livelihoods and continued to stretch health systems, of which she commended the institute for working hard to stay at the forefront to develop control and prevention measures against those health threats.
She was delighted that the institute had taken steps to revive its annual research meeting after its inactivity for some years as it served as an important avenue to disseminate research data that was relevant for healthcare delivery and policy formulation.