Kwaku Agyemang Manu, Health Minister
A two-day symposium to deliberate on ways to translate health research into influential policies and programme decisions has been organised by stakeholders in the health research sector.
The programme which was organised by the steering committee of the National Health Research Dissemination Symposium (NHRDS), with support from the USAID, is envisaged to bring to the forefront policies and programming implications of research findings and tested innovations.
The two day event, themed ‘translating research into policy: evidence-based decision making for equitable improvement in health status’, is also expected to rejuvenate the purpose of setting up health research institutions and forge a greater linkage between researchers, health managers and decision makers.
The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, in a speech read on his behalf, acknowledged the significant progress made in health research, indicating that 55 percent of district health offices conducted operational research in 2016.
He, however, admitted the lack of implementation of health interventions that have been demonstrated to be cost-effective by high-quality research.
Mr Agyemang-Manu, thus, stated government’s resolve to strengthen health institutions and mechanisms that can promote and influence the uptake of research findings.
“For our country to achieve the SDGs especially Goal 3, cost-effective and evidence-based policy decision making is crucial and this can be possible if our research activities are strengthened and research recommendations utilized to inform policy,” he said.
The sector minister called for the symposium to find practical solutions on how research finding can be successfully translated into policy actions, taking into consideration the capacity of policymakers on crucial organisational issues like funding, monitoring, evaluation and learning on policy influence.
Professor David Ofori-Adjei, former rector, Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons (GCPS), in his presentation on overcoming the obstacles to translating health research products to health policy and programme decisions in Ghana, highlighted the important role of policy formulation to the Ministry of Health and drew a very vivid picture of the various stages of what he termed a key responsibility of the ministry.
Prof Ofori-Adjei said in as much as researches in the health sector are available with evidence showing their meaningful contribution to the development of the health system of the country, hindrances like institutions structures, finance for implementation still remain a big challenge.
“There is a lot of evidence available but the challenge is putting them into practice and we must be well resolved to make them work,” he said.
Akua Kwateng-Addo, USAID/Ghana Director of HPNO, said equality and access to health was still a critical issue in the country as almost half of the populations still do not have health insurance.
She, thus, called for the research not to be put on shelves but discussed with the right stakeholders to lead to the necessary actions needed.
A tape was cut to open the photo exhibition of the research findings.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri