A research to map out the capacity of health research institutes in Ghana, has recommended the establishment of a health research fund to support the development and capacity strengthening of research institutions.
It also recommended the establishment of a national health research agenda and also a national process for ethical clearance for research proposal.
The Department of International Development of the UK commissioned research conducted by Centre for Health and Social Services (CHeSS) also suggested support for private-public-partnerships in research infrastructure, sharing of appropriate incentives, and continued capacity development for research staff at various levels for proper functioning of health research.
The research examined the current research capacity of institutions, future projections on capacity and research development as well as funding arrangement and sustainability issues.
Dr Anthony Seddoh, Operations Director of CHeSS at the research dissemination workshop said continued capacity development for research staff at various levels for proper functioning of health research was important.
This, he said, should be based on assessment of capacity needs at any point in time and noted that it is important particularly for the identified areas for the proper functioning of organisations.
“Some of the required competencies can be obtained through health research management training, which could be done by actively twinning universities and organisations through north-south and south-south collaboration.”
Given the high disparity in fee schedules and the possible ethics and moral hazards that may arise in poaching of staff it may be necessary for the recommended independent Health Research Ethics Council to review and set basic rules and standards in human resources for health research consultancy fees and staff recruitment and collaboration.
Dr Sam Adjei, Chief Executive Officer of CHeSS noted that Ghana is in transition from a low income to a middle income country and it is therefore important to document the effects of the transition.
This, he said, calls for the conduct of research to inform quality and to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the policies meant to mitigate the effects of the transition on the health of the people.
“The role of research in supporting these processes in relation to informing policy direction is essential and so it the growing need for a sustainable research sector within the health sector,” he said.
He said the exercise built on existing research and provided an insight into the current sustainability of research institutions and provides some comparisons of state of Ghanaian health research similar with those in the middle income countries.
The purpose of the meeting was to present findings to stakeholders drawn from academia, Ministry of Health and Ghana Health Service research institutions, policy makers, civil society and non- governmental organisations.
According to him research mapping is one way of understanding the research landscape in the health sector.
He said even though it is generally accepted that there are relatively strong research structures in place within the health research sector in Ghana, relatively few studies have been done to document the research landscape.