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27.07.2005 General News

GHS holds forum on research dissemination


Accra, July 27, GNA - Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health, on Wednesday called for the use of simple and affordable methods for monitoring patterns of health service utilization. He also called for a systemic application of methods for analysing cost effectiveness of interventions saying it was through such interventions that policy debates in the health sector could be enriched.

Major Quashigah, who was speaking at the Second Annual Research Dissemination Forum of the Ghana Health Service in Accra, called for intensified work towards the increase of relevance of research work in solving the immediate problems of health in the country.

The forum, which is on the theme, "Achieving the Millennium Development Goals: The Role of Health Research," is an attempt to provide relevant information to key stakeholders such as programme managers, policy makers and the public and bring to the fore the importance of research in ensuring quality health care delivery. Major Quashigah reiterated the importance of research in the efforts towards achieving the targets set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and said there was the need to identify and implement solutions that were peculiar to Ghana's circumstances.

"Many a time we are accused of striving hard to find solutions to problems without adequate consideration to the circumstances under which these solutions will be implemented," he said.

"Eventually we come out with solutions which are either difficult to implement or are totally rejected by the communities," he said. He stated that there were several examples of these good research findings that had still not been fully implemented and reiterated that for research to support the achievement of the MDGs, they must of necessity focus on the use of simple technologies to solve the basic problems of the greatest number of people.

The Minister said the timeframe for meeting the targets of the MDGs were just under a decade away and it was important to be focused on these targets in the design of research activities.

He commended the GHS for devoting five per cent of its annual budget for health research and said the Ministry would take a cue from the initiative and soon come out with its stand on research financing. Prof. Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director General, GHS, described health as a knowledge and skill-based industry and, therefore, everything should be evidence-based.

He said health research was necessary for determining numerous factors that affected the health of people and, therefore, should be given the needed attention.

He mentioned areas such as the reduction of poverty, malnutrition, infant and maternal mortality, which were part of the goals of the MDGs. Prof. Akosa said Ghana needed to redouble efforts, especially in the area of poverty reduction, empowerment of women and ensuring the reduction of under-five mortality by two-thirds.

The Director-General said there was also the need to examine the effect of environmental sanitation and further research into areas including the availability or otherwise of potable water, water borne diseases, provision of toilets, malnutrition, malaria and guinea worm eradication.

He said the GHS would do its best to support health research to ensure the realisation of the MDGs by the year 2015.

Dr John Gyapong, Head of Health Research Unit, GHS, said the Unit intended to expand its infrastructure and develop further capacity in various fields of expertise at both the district and regional levels. He stated that the sustenance of the forum would offer the opportunity for researchers and stakeholders to share relevant ideas and information to enhance health care delivery in the country.