The College of Health Sciences of the University of Ghana (UG) opened its fourth biennial conference in Accra yesterday with a call on the general public not to be complacent in adhering to precautionary measures against COVID-19.
The three-day meeting on the theme: “COVID-19 pandemic to date: the uncertain path ahead,” had in attendance policy actors, university faculty, health practitioners, research institutions, development partners, researchers and civil society, to explore new knowledge that could contribute to the growth of Ghana’s health sector.
Managing Director of Promasidor Ghana Limited, Festus Tettey, in a keynote address, commended government for strides made in combating the COVID-19 epidemic following Ghana’s first cases in March 2020.
Consequently, he said, the country had seen a rebound of socio-economic life giving room for people to think the pandemic was “normal and therefore we no longer need to be vigilant.”
“Permit me to counter that with a small dose of reality. Data from the Ghana Health Service website states that we have had a total of 168,580 COVID-19 infections as of end of August 2022 of which 1,459 have died.
“If we remember that these individuals could still have been alive, but for the pandemic, you would agree that even one preventable death is one too many.”
Mr Tettey said the future was still uncertain as regards the COVID-19 pandemic citing a statement issued by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently which warned of more dangerous variants of the disease.
“This comes on top of other viral disease outbreaks such as Monkeypox and all these support the assertion that the path ahead is uncertain.
I believe it is possible to slow down or prevent the spread of COVID-19 and any new disease we may encounter but the onus is on each and every one of us to take personal responsibility moving forward,” he advised.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Development at the University, Professor Felix Asante said UG was poised to position itself as an “African institution of choice for collaborative research and industry partnership.”
To this end, he said the university was reviewing its current areas of research to that which promotes innovation towards addressing global challenges and breed a next generation of highly impactful scientists and researchers.
“So for example, malaria research will have to be broadened to include pandemics such as COVID-19 and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and another area we are considering is the use of artificial intelligence.”
Prof. Asante assured that the university would continue to provide the enabling environment to conduct high quality research to address the needs of the country.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH