Dr Abraham Rexford Oduro, Director of the Research and Development Division (RDD) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS)
Dr Abraham Rexford Oduro, Director of the Research and Development Division (RDD) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS)

Policy to guide research in Ghana in the offing

The Research and Development Division (RDD) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS) has developed a draft policy to guide health research works across the country.

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The policy was developed with the assistance of all three health research centres in the country, namely the Navrongo, Kintampo and Dodowa Health Research Centres, including their development partners.

This is to resolve the recent situation where Ghana did not have any policy to guide its health research centres on the type of research activities it should undertake.

The Director of the RDD of the GHS, Dr Abraham Rexford Oduro, who disclosed this, said the absence of a policy had created spaces for some researchers to conduct just any research without necessarily looking at their impact on the population or the country.

“There is no document that details all that we have been doing.

So, there is the need to document whatever we are doing and that itself will streamline our processes and will make us more efficient,” he stated. 

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a two-day scientific review by the Navrongo Health Research Centre in the Upper East Region, Dr Oduro said due to the absence of a research policy, some health researchers only conducted research to get promotion or be recruited as university lecturers or to have their names in academic journals, as such the researches brought no direct benefit to the country’s health needs.

The NHRC is one of the three research centres under the Research and Development Division (RDD) of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), established in 1992 to conduct research into major national and international health problems to inform policy for the improvement of health. 

Coordination

Dr Oduro, therefore, stated that the development of the new research policy started in 2023 and that the draft was ready and was going through its final stages, indicating that with all things being equal, the new health research policy would be ready for use by the close of 2024. 

The new policy, the RDD Director explained, would set the priority areas for the various research centres across the country to follow in conducting their research, noting that “in modern times, you cannot just be working without a policy.”

“You know, different people are doing different types of research.

 So, if there is no policy to decide which area we should research to feed into policy development; proper health policy development, then it means that most of the work we are doing may not necessarily be relevant or will not bring benefits to the general population,” he explained.

He said the RDD would ensure that all health research work in the Ghana Health Service “are governed,” pointing out that, it would help to focus attention on areas that would advance the country’s healthcare sector. 

Dr Oduro further indicated that the policy would ensure the protection of the participants recruited for the various health research, and also determine whether the research was necessary for the advancement of healthcare delivery in the country.

He added that even though currently there was no research policy to guide the work of the health research centres, they were operating within their mandate and had contributed positively to the development of the country’s healthcare sector.

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