The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) of the University of Ghana, Legon has 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”.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Institute’s seventh Annual Research Meeting, Prof. Dorothy Yeboah-Manu, Director, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research stated that the NMIMR has been at the forefront of tackling epidemics/pandemics and local outbreaks.
Notable examples are the West African Ebola virus disease outbreak in 2014, the H1N1 influenza outbreaks in 2009 and 2017, and the H5N1 outbreak in 2018.
The swift response to the nation called for the rapid detection of the recent Marburg outbreak leading to the institution of appropriate interventions, dampening an otherwise disastrous event.
The Institute also confirmed the first case of monkeypox in Ghana in July this year and has been involved in the surveillance of other diseases across the country.
Prof. Yeboah-Manu indicated that this year’s Annual Research Meeting aims at providing a forum to present findings from our cutting-edge research while stimulating intellectual exchanges among researchers, health practitioners, policymakers and the public on their national health policy implications.
She further explained that the meeting, among other things, brought together researchers within and outside Ghana together to share evidence-based data that could clear the path for great collaborations.
Adding that “As a believer in south-south partnerships, this meeting offers an opportunity for us all to establish new collaborations that may last for several years. I cannot also forget our northern partners, some of whom have been with us for as long as I have been in this Institute”.
“One of the things this meeting brought forth was to provide the platform to also discuss non-communicable diseases like hypertension, cancer, and diabetes which we do not usually pay attention to them. In the midst of all these problems, what Noguchi, the leading biomedical research institute in-country is doing is in the area of drug discovery”, Prof. Yeboah-Manu said.
Adding her voice, Prof. Nana Aba Appiah, Vice-Chancellor, the University of Ghana indicated that communicating the scientific outputs for the lay audience to understand is essential.
“Training researchers to know how to effectively communicate research findings and works to a lay audience is what will enable a 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 stated.
Prof. Appiah Amfo stated that researchers around the world have been working hard to develop control measures against health threats.
“In Ghana, one of the flagship research institutes of the University of Ghana, the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research has been at the forefront of research into both communicable and non-communicable diseases, surveillance and specialized diagnosis of most of these health threats. The Institute has been a vanguard of biomedical and health research in Ghana and has over the years its significant impact in health policy and practice”, she added.
Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, Presidential Coordinator of, the COVID-19 Response Programme delivering his keynote address stated that the divide between research and policy requires researchers to deepen their understanding of the policymaking process. Adding that “as researchers, we tend to have a very simplified view of how policy is made. We tend to see how the policy is made in a very linear, logical manner, policies come up. You consider the problems and policy options, then you choose the best. And in that process, research plays an important role”.
Prof. John Gyapong delivering his keynote address on NTD research landscape and challenges with elimination explained that Neglected Tropical Diseases research is not prioritised in limited resource countries. Limited capacity to attract and effectively execute cutting-edge research in many resource-limited settings is plagued by NTDs.
“Chunk of research grant awards for global disease burdens including NTDs occur in the global north relative to the global south, which suffers the brunt of these diseases. As we speak now, the World Health Assembly has developed a roadmap for eliminating and controlling NTDs. For good reasons, they decided to focus on twenty of these diseases that affect populations living poverty and are in close contact with infectious diseases”, Prof. Gyapong stated.
Mr. Yasuaki Momita, a representative of, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) indicated that JICA and the Institute have a long-standing history of collaboration through technical cooperation and grant aid projects such as the establishment of the Institute, construction of the Advanced Research Laboratories and the new technical cooperation project to improve safety and quality management systems in the Institute.
“With the overall aim of improving QMS, a Quality Management System, the Institute will meet international standards. As one of the Institute’s core mandates to research into diseases of public health importance, JICA, through its precaution pair, enhancing infectious disease research and alert system under the Global Health and Medicine Initiative has also supported the Institute to build the capacity of researchers through research-based projects, surveillance and laboratory support for pathogens of public health importance in Ghana”, Mr. Momita stated.
The two-day scientific meeting witnessed the attendance of researchers, health practitioners, policymakers and the public and also afforded NMIMR the opportunity to receive valuable feedback from stakeholders in evaluating its research programmes and act.