The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR), University of Ghana organized a 2-Day Annual Research Meeting (ARM) from November 17-18, 2022 under the theme “Epidemics, Pandemics and Diseases of Public Health Importance: Bridging the Research-Policy Divide.
The ARM provided a forum for researchers, health policymakers, practitioners, including governmental and non-governmental organizations, and community health partners to address the research and policy divide while bringing researchers together to present their research and engage in intellectual discussion.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Director of NMIMR, Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu stated that that the Institute has long been a leader in the fight against epidemics, pandemics, and local outbreaks of disease. The current Marburg outbreak was quickly identified thanks to the Institute’s prompt reaction to the national call, and effective treatments helped to prevent an otherwise catastrophic event.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah Amfo, who chaired the event reiterated the need to translate scholarly outputs for a lay audience. “Training researchers to know how to effectively communicate research findings and works to lay audience is what will enable better understanding of the science we practice. Community members are principal in the process of research and it is for this reason scientists must deem them as key players in the whole process of research”, Prof. Appiah Amfo added.
On the first day, Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, Presidential Coordinator, COVID-19 Response Programme, gave the keynote address on “Strategies for ensuring uptake of research data for policy formulation.” He suggested that due to the gap between research and policy, researchers must better understand the process of formulating policy.
He explained that by doing this, academics would be better able to identify the issues and potential solutions.
Prof. John Gyapong who delivered the keynote address for day two on the topic “NTD research landscape and challenges with elimination” explained that research in Neglected Tropical Diseases was not given the necessary priority in countries with limited resources. As a result, the ability to attract and successfully carry out cutting-edge research in the field of NTDs is limited.
At the two-day scientific symposium, which was attended by researchers, health professionals, policymakers, and members of the public, NMIMR had the chance to obtain crucial feedback from stakeholders for assessing its research programs and activities.
Research Fellows and Scientists of the Institute also presented their research in the various areas including Vaccine-related research, NTD research and policy, Bacterial research and policy, Malaria research and policy, Viral research and policy as well as Entomology research and policy.
The focus of an engaging debate that marked the culmination of the ARM was on the topic ‘The global race against epidemics and pandemics is a hopeless case’.
The ARM was attended by over 500 local and international scientists.