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Navrongo Health Research Centre faces challenge

BY: Samuel K. Obour

Despite the success of the Navrongo Health Research Centre, (NHRC) and its place in the forefront of research on diseases such as Malaria, the centre is not without challenges.

The Director of the NHRC, Dr Abraham R. Oduro said lack of funding for research, maintenance of basic research infrastructure, competition and diminishing of research grants and non retention and absorption of staff is drastically affecting research efforts.

Dr. Oduro said this when the Upper East Regional Minister, Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru and his deputy, Mr Daniel Syme paid a familiarization visit to the NHRC at Navrongo.

Dr. Oduro said the NHRC was set up to conduct research into major national and international health problems with the aim of informing policy for the improvement of health, adding that this is being achieved by focusing primarily on basic and intervention research, social and demographic research, and human resource development.

According to him, NHRC is one of three research centres of the Ghana Health Service and its operation areas covers the three regions in the north of Ghana. He said the centre since its establishment in 1988 has carried out a significant number of scientific projects and continues to engage stakeholders in formulating new projects adding that some of its projects has driven some key national policy.

This inclide the Vitamin A supplementation Trail (Ghana VAST) which has reduced hospitalization and death by 20 per cent and the permethrin impregnated bednets study which has led to a reduction of 17 percent mortality in children.

He also added that the centre also pioneered the Community Health and Family Planning Projects (CHFP) and the Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) that ensured that nurses or trained locally based volunteers are placed within communities.

 By so doing, it reduces the distance between patients and primary health care services which increases the uptake of family planning services, reduction in fertility level, improved immunization coverage and other health outcomes.

The Director of the NHRC said apart from  research; the centre has also contributed to employment generation, human resource development, health care and education and promoted health research tourism.

In spite of all these successes, he maintained the centre still faces challenges due to inadequate funding and advocated for increase support.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru commended NHRC for its contribution to health delivery system through the various research projects, emphasizing that research was key to development.

He said his administration believes that research must be given the recognition and attention. “We think the research centres must be given the necessary attention because there is lot that you do and we think when we give you all the support that you need, you will be able to help shape policies in this country,” he said.

The Regional Minister said in his other capacity as Minister of state in Charge of Human Resource Development and Scholarships, he is ready to help identify a few scholarships opportunities so that the centre can also benefit.