A former Deputy Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Anarfi Asamoah-Baah has advocated the teaching of research methodology in basic education to develop the culture of research in country.
“Teaching of research methodology should be part of basic education level, we should not wait till we get to post-graduate level,” he said.
He said research led to discovery of innovations and solutions to solve problems and must not only be taught at undergraduate and post-graduate levels, but in basic education to catch them young.
Dr Asamoah-Baah was delivering the Dr Paul Arthur Memorial Lecture on Thursday in Accra on the topic, ‘Sustaining 25 years of excellence in health research : Impacting communities , shaping health policy and practice,’ as part of activities to mark the 25 years of the establishment of the Kintampo Health Research Centre(KHRC) in the Bono East Region.
The late Paul Arthur, who passed on in 2002, was the first director of KHRC that was set up along the Navrongo and Dodowa Research Centres to undertake diverse researches in the three ecological zones- savannah, middelbelt and coastal belt- to address health challenges in the country.
He observed that there was a lot of ignorance in society and that children must be encouraged to be inquisitive and to ask questions, adding that, “half a knowledge is dangerous than no knowledge”.
He praised the work of the KHRC that had helped to shape health policies both in Ghana and internationally and stressed on the need to translate research findings into practice.
Dr Asamoah-Baah described the late researcher as a “small man but intellectual giant,” emphasising that research must be “recognised, acknowledged, respected, rewarded and glorified”.
Going forward, the former WHO Deputy Director General, anticipated that research would be more “crowded, complex, challenging and competitive,’ adding that “people will be skeptical about research and question scientists about their work, their perception is that they will no longer want to be used as guinea pigs”.
Dr Asamoah-Baah reiterated the need to set up a dedicated fund for research activities and that research centres must established in all the regional capitals and the culture of research must be imbibed in the country to help find solutions to the myriad of health challenges in the country.
The Director of the KHRC, Dr Kwaku Poku Asante, said 70 per cent of the research funding to the centre was from external source describing the situation as “dangerous,” ostensibly in the event of donor fatigue.
He lauded the idea of “Ghana Beyond Aid” which he said must cover funding to research institutions as well.
Among the research priorities of the KHRC was the clinical trial of the efficacy and safety of the malaria vaccine that is now being implemented in the country.
BY SALIFU ABDUL-RAHAMAN