The annual research meeting of the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) is underway at the University of Ghana, Legon in Accra.
The two-day event attended by over 500 research scientists is being organised on the theme “Epidemics, pandemics and diseases of public health importance: Bridging the research policy divide.”
It sought to afford participants the opportunity to share evidence-based data that may clear the path for greater collaborations towards creating new grounds for more partnerships.
The research findings discussed for the period include viral and bacterial infections, surveillance for dengue and chilcungunya viruses in selected health facilities in Ghana, molecular epidemiology of carbapenemase – producing Escherichia coil sequence type Sf410 in Ghana, temporal trends and norovirus genotype distribution in the paediatric population and the entomological monitoring of aedesborneorborviruses in some selected communities.
The Presidential Coordinator for Ghana’s COVID-19 response, Dr Anarfi Asamoa Baah, who was the special guest charged researchers to deepen their understanding of policy processes before embarking on any such activity.
That, he explained was the only way policy-makers would be enthused by their efforts towards supporting their endeavours for the public good, since research work was more sophisticated and messy as it behooves the scientists to make it easier for the policy makers to understanding the import of the subject matter in order to buy into the idea.
He said the researcher must adequately prepare him or herself ahead to rope in the policy maker since they did not have access to the peer reviews issued at the end of the research.
Dr Baah urged researchers to create communication channels in order to disseminate their findings to the grass roots, and must also endeavour to translate scientific terms into simpler words to enable the less-educated to understand the import of their findings.
“Since science and scientific research is becoming more suspicious, research findings must be properly translated to the understanding of the ordinary man,” he added.
He urged them to be creative, highly skilled in the transmission of the findings and the ability to be creative and adopt more simplistic style in presentations as well as add human value to solicit public response.
The representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Mr Yasnaki Momitta, assured of his outfit’s resolve to support Noguchi build capacity in unravelling the mysteries surrounding past and emerging diseases.
He said the time had come for the adoption of a viable and comprehensive approach to fight emerging pathogens.
The Director of NMIMR, Professor Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, in her opening address said the meeting would offer opportunities for greater collaborations for better understanding of emerging trends in the outbreak of new viruses.
She commended the sponsors of the meeting after a 10-year break and assured that the institute would undertake oral and poster display of its activities during the sessions and urged the participants to effectively contribute to the two-day event.
BY LAWRENCE VOMAFAAKPALU