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University of Ghana to help researchers turn their works into policy

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legon1The University of Ghana under the Development Research Uptake in Sub-Saharan Africa (DRUSSA) programme, on Wednesday held a day’s seminar to assist researchers turn their work into policy.

The DRUSSA seminar is aimed at providing solutions at the individual, institutional and systems levels in order to achieve overall viability and impact in terms of improved participation, policy, and practice impact.

Through the introduction of Research Uptake Management, a new specialist university management field seeks to focus on strengthening the capacity to engage with national stakeholders.

The objective is for universities to fulfil their unique role as primary knowledge producers and key intermediary contributors to the major developmental poverty-reduction programmes in their countries and the Sub-Saharan African region.

The seminar organised by the Office of Research, Innovation and Development (ORID) brought together some researchers from the University of Ghana (UG) whose research  have impacted policy or is in the process of doing so to share their work with their  peers.

In his presentation- Developing Ghana’s Financial Sector Strategic Plan II, (FINSAP) Professor Anthony Qwame  Aboagye, Head of Department of Finance, UG Business School said his work was intended  to enhance soundness of the country’ banking system by improving regulatory framework, strengthening banking supervision among other interventions.

According to him the justification for the research was to help the financial sector position itself to support economic growth effectively and efficiently; and to do so, challenges facing the sector needs to be removed.

Prof Aboagye said the FINSAP has since been adopted as the Government of Ghana policy document for the financial sector.

“Achieving this  was facilitated by benefits of previous efforts FINSAP, FINSSPI I being there for all and government to see;working very closely with the Ministry at all stages of the study and having industry players make direct input into the concept and involving them in workshops to validate findings and recommendations and capturing and sustaining the interests of “developing partners”, thanks to previous delivery and the fact that government recognise that industry players were firmly in support,” he said.

Professor  George Armah, Head of the Rotavirus Regional Reference Laboratory who spoke on the Epidemolgy, Burden of Disease and Vaccine Eficacy Studies: Preparing for the Rotavirus Vaccine intoduction said,  low resource countries in Asia and Africa carry the greatest rotavirus disease burden, representing 85 per cent of the problem.

He said six out of nine countries with mortality rates of 300 per 100,000 deaths are in Africa:   Angola, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, and Somalia.

Prof Armah said key information for National Decision Making was to raise awareness of the staggering burden of rotavirus and diarrhoeal diseases, epidemiology, clinical presentation and the burden of disease.

He said presentation of evidenced based data  was disseminated to stakeholders like Ministry of Health, World Health Organisation , Ministry of Finance, at meetings and seminars to Pediatricians, Ghana Medical Association.

Dr Ishmael D. Norman, a Lecturer at the School of Public Health  who spoke on Ethics and Electronic Health Information Technology: Challenges for Evidence-Based Medicine and the Physician-Patient Relationship said he had to sacrifice certain luxuries and use his own resources to start his research,  which had paid off.

He said through what he started , he is in partnership with  two foreign universities and are  working on a project worth several million of dollars.

According to him, the practice of medicine is changing due to technological advances and encroachment into both clinical work and public health research.

The change  he noted may potentially, negatively intrude on the sanctity of the Physician-patient relationship and implicate privacy, confidentialilty  and other ethical issues.

According to him Ghana has no current legal standards and protocols to aid healthcare delivery in contagious disease outbreak where quarantine and isolation are necessary.

This he said led to the Public Health Act (Act 851) and noted that even though most people were involved in the dafting of the legislation, there is always a core drafting group that actually do the research, the debate, discussion and prepare the zero draft for comments and  that he was a proud member of the group.

“Our paper influenced the language, the breath and reach of the Act by setting out the modalities for the initiation of Quarantine and Isolation in Ghana in emergencies,”, he said.

Professor  John Gyapong,  Pro Vice Chancellor of ORID s charged researchers  to ensure that resources from their work should affect change, improve and correct wrongs in the society.

He also urged them to make use of research development officers at their disposal whose duties among other thing are to support and facilitate basic things in research.

DRUSSA is undertaking partnership at two Sub-Saharan based organisations: The Centre for Research into Evaluation, Science and Technology at the University of Stellenbosch and Organisation Systems Design, a South African- based consultancy specialising in facilitating change in the research management and capacity-building sectors in Africa; and the UK-based Association of Commonwealth Universities.

It is funded by the Department For International Development –UK.

The DRUSSA programme commenced on October 1, 2011 and will roll-out for a five- year period.

The programme focuses on strengthening research uptake management capacity and participation in the international development scientific research system in 24 Universities: Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.

Source: GNA

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