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02.02.2005 Health

Herbal preparations pose serious challenge - Prof Akosa

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Accra, Feb. 2, GNA - Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director-General, Ghana Health Services (GHS) on Wednesday said the proliferation of uncertified herbal preparations on the Ghanaian market posed serious challenge to the delivery of quality health care. He, therefore, called on researchers to venture into researching into the efficacy of herbal preparations since the majority of the population relied greatly on them for cure.
Prof Akosa was speaking at an annual stakeholder meeting to review as well as set agenda for researches in the Health Sector as a requirement under the Ghanaian-Dutch Collaboration for Health Research and Development Initiative.
He urged the Food and Drugs Board and other related agencies to impose stringent measures on uncertified herbal concoctions to curb their proliferation.
Mr Moses Dani Baah, Acting Deputy Minister of Health, said North-South research partnerships were often unbalanced and at variance with each other because whereas northern researchers focussed on academic quality, researchers in the South were often more concerned about the societal relevance of the research being undertaken.
He attributed some of the challenges faced by researchers in developing countries to lack of literature, technology and software as well as an enabling environment and access to funding.
The programme, initiated in 1996 between Ghana and the Netherlands, employs an innovative approach to research in which policymakers; health workers and communities define a national agenda for health research through a consultative and participatory approach.
Mr Dani Baah noted that due to limited funding for research programmes in developing countries, scientists tended to apply to international funding agencies that invariably had their own research interests and priorities.
"Research carried out by these scientists almost tends to be the priorities of these agencies and not necessarily national priorities and as a result findings often do not find their way into the policy arena, because they do not address the urgent issues of local importance," he said.
He stated, however, that the Ghanaian-Dutch Collaborative Programme sought to change that situation and to rather promote health research that met the needs of the public policymakers and the Ghanaian society at large, making health research more demand-driven.
He urged the meeting to look at other health care issues apart from communication, community participation in health care programmes, health care financing and decentralisation that had been broadly prioritised in previous agenda.
Mr Jan Van der Horst, First Secretary, Health and Gender Development Advisor, Royal Netherlands Embassy, called for more in-depth research, which would provide answers to the health problems in changing environments.
He said such findings could influence decision making at policy levels to hasten solutions, adding that the Netherlands government was committed to honouring its part of the agreement.

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