The two day forum, which was necessitated by the need to explore useful areas for further research work in health issue across the country, was on the theme “Evidence based decision making – the role of operations research”.
The forum, organised by the Research and Development Division (RDD) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), is expected to bring to the fore the contributions of research findings to the implementation of health interventions.
It would also create an avenue to foster functional linkages between national health programmes and health research institutions.
Professor Irene Akua Agyapong, a public health specialist at the RDD of the GHS observed that research played an important role in influencing Evidence Informed Policy (EIP) formulation in all health related issues for national development.
“Notwithstanding this critical position, researchers must be able to contextualise their recommendations taking into account the political, social and historical backgrounds of the health sector,” she said.
Prof. Agyapong said the existence of complex adaptive structures and systems within the health sector were necessary as they ensured that health related issues were interconnected making it impossible for other health issues to be isolated.
Prof. Agyapong encouraged researchers to select research topics that would inform policy decision in both social and political science.
Dr. Owen Kaluwa, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Country Representative to Ghana, said that Africa was burdened with communicable diseases, which called for a decision-making approach that was firmly grounded on the best available scientific evidence for all sectors of development.
He said WHO recognises and places much importance on health research, as research evidence provide the foundation for setting priorities, defining strategies and measuring results.
He affirmed WHO’s commitment to support research on health issues and help address the various health challenges that Ghana faces.
Dr. Abraham Hodgson, Director of Research at the GHS, stated that the RDD was one of the 10 sections under the GHS, mandated to undertake research into health problems facing Ghanaians, and make recommendations to inform policy decisions.
He said the department intended to hold annual dissemination forums as a way of sharing and communicating research information.
By Linda Naa Deide Aryeetey