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23.07.2004 General News

Noguchi holds Open Day to launch 25th anniversary

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Accra, July 23, GNA- The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research on Friday launched activities marking its 25th anniversary celebrations with a plea for more money to perform its duties. Speaking at an Open Day to get the public informed about its programmes and projects, Professor David Ofori-Adjei, Director of the Institute, said inadequate funding was a major problem facing the Institute.

"As an institution that is funded from government subvention, we are generally on a shaky limb when it comes to money for everyday running of the Institute," he said.

"The sorest part is that we never get what we need for research, yet we are constantly being asked by herbalists and other persons to investigate one thing or the other," he added.

The Council of the University of Ghana established the Institute in November 1979 to conduct research into infectious and communicable diseases and nutrition.

It has since then expanded its focus and had gained international recognition for its research activities into diseases of public health importance, including malaria, food safety among others.

Prof. Ofori-Adjei said unlike other academic institutions, the Institute did not have programmes that produced medical professionals or directly award degrees to enable it to generate some funds.

"The students that we have belong to other faculties and these faculties always plead poverty as an excuse for not being able to let us have a little of what they get to support their students."

He lauded the Japanese International Cooperation Assistance (JICA) for its financial and technical support to the Institute since its establishment.

Prof. Ofori-Adjei said the Institute had also attracted funding from many international sources such as the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Danish Development Agency (DDA)

He said the Institute had been hiring many young graduates for some of its externally funded projects but had been unable to offer them job placements in the long term because of personnel ceilings imposed on it by the civil service.

Prof. Ofori-Adjei noted that Internet facilities at the Institute had enhanced the research capabilities of scientists working on various projects.

Besides, the Ethical Review Board also acts to ensure and guarantee the appropriate dignity, rights, safety and protection of individuals, communities who participate in the Institute's projects.

Prof. Kwadwo Asenso-Okyere, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Legon, urged the Institute to continue with its excellent work in the field of research that had given it international recognition. He expressed the hope that the Institute would mount post-graduate programmes in relevant areas covered by its research. The Open day activities include film shows, poster exhibition, HIV/AIDS education and counselling and allergy testing. 23 July 04

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