The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) on Monday started a two-day research summit to serve as a platform for dialogue among researchers and stakeholders on issues of public health importance to the country.

The Annual Research Meeting (ARM), which started since 2000, brought together stakeholder institutions involved in public health management and related issues, including health policy and decision makers, disease control managers and programmes, health-related NGOs, scientific community and the public.

Professor Kwadwo Ansah Koram, the Director of Noguchi Memorial Institute, in an address, said diseases of Public Health concern were a threat and costly for national development.

He said many of such illnesses in the sub-region reduced productivity in the working age group, affected children’s growth and learning abilities and sometimes caused irreparable damage to various organs of the body and ultimately result in death.

These diseases, he said, interfered with the country’s socio-economic development and affected the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He said he was happy that the ARM had been revived after being halted for over the past decade and a half, under the premise of presenting it on a bigger platform which was at the research conference of the College of health Sciences (CHS).

Professor Koram said Noguchi’s ARM under the theme: “From Bench to Bedside: Improving Healthcare in Ghana and Beyond”, therefore seeks to bring major stakeholders in the public health sector together to interact and share knowledge on how to streamline and effectively manage policy and health care systems in Ghana in order to achieve greater success.

He said discussions during the sessions were also expected to be on how to take the Institutes’ research findings beyond its laboratories for the development of new and improved control tools, saying “the Institute is at the dawn of new opportunities”, citing new infrastructural developments such as the new University of Ghana Medical Centre.

He also paid tribute to the founding fathers of the Institute including Dr Hideyo Noguchi and Professors Charles Easmon, Kenji Honda and Alex Kwapong, whose vision saw to the establishment of the NMIMR in 1979.

“In a couple of years, the Institute will celebrate its 40th anniversary and will like this to be the beginning of our preparatory activities for that celebration. This should also see us through next year when we celebrate the 90th anniversary of Dr Noguchi’s death”, he said.

He thanked the Volkswagon Foundation of Germany, for providing funding for the Institute’s Buruli Ulcer project as well as the ARM.

Professor Patrick S. Ayeh-Kumi, The Provost of the College of health Sciences, expressed the hope that the revival of the ARM would strengthen the Institute’s future research activities in relation to the problems of public health importance in Ghana.

Dr Fredrick Wurapa, a Former Dean of the School of Public Health, University of Ghana, commended the NMIMR for reviving the ARM, which would help in addressing the problem of shelving critical research findings without proper sharing with key stakeholders and the public.

He said there would be a debate on the topic: “Is Ghana Prepared for an Outbreak of any Deadly Disease?”, and presentations from basic science to applied field research, to give a flavor of various research activities that were currently on-going at the institute and other institutions.

Source: GNA

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