The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) has held its Annual Research Meeting (ARM) from Monday 6th to Tuesday7th February 2017 at the Institute's Conference Hall, University of Ghana with the theme: “from bench to bedside : improving healthcare in Ghana and beyond”.
The Annual Research Meeting (ARM) dates back to the year 2000 and bring together stakeholder institutions involved in public health management and related issues. The ARM has been established to provide a platform for interaction amongst Medical Researchers and practitioners, Health Policy and Decision Makers, Disease Control Program Managers, health related NGOs, the Scientific Community, Universities, Media and the General Public in the country.
The programme commenced with a welcome address by the Director of the Institute, Prof. Kwadwo A. Koram. He welcomed all present to the maiden meeting. Having stated that, the meeting was a revived one because it used to happen some years ago, he mentioned also that, starting the ARM this year is opportune for the institute because it marks the 90th year of the arrival of Dr. Hideyo Noguchi to the shores of Ghana, then Gold Coast, in the search for the cause of yellow fever. Having given the history of the institute, and some of the research activities that have gone on since its establishment, he then brought to notice, the new opportunities underway – contractual arrangements for the beginning of work on the new laboratories; collaboration with the new University of Ghana Medical Centre and the expectation to be called upon to offer more services to clinical work. As to how our research work can move from the bench to the bedside, the presentation of work in the institute will give headway to the knowledge of research and how to apply them – a step to the bedside.
His address ended with the a debt of gratitude to the VW Foundation, which is supporting dissemination activities of Buruli Ulcer Studies, for their generous support; and also to other sponsors and the Local Organizing Committee chaired by Dr. Michael F. Ofori for their commitment and effort put into to the revival of the Annual Research Meeting.
A cross-section of participants at ARM
Chairman’s Opening Remarks
The Chairman for the occasion, Emeritus Professor Francis K. Nkrumah in his opening remarks, also expressed his immense gratitude to the LOC for the good work done. He reiterated brief history of the institute and reminded all present of the mandate entrusted in the hands of the institute. That is to conduct Biomedical Research into diseases of Public Health Concern and also to offer training programmes to student (which includes Post-doctoral fellowship).
He pointed out the rise in Non-communicable diseases such as cancer, hypertension and diabetes, and admitted the need for the bench work to reach the bedside. He again added that the reason for the meeting was to disseminate on-going research and to collaborate with other research facilities for further research work.
Professor Patrick S. Ayeh-Kumi, Provost of the College of Health Sciences, commended NMIMR for her active role in the College since the inception of the College; and that it has been a pillar in the Ghanaian Health Care System. The ARM, in his view, is a strategic way of attracting stakeholders and he believes it is a better platform for the discussion of health problems.
His Excellency Kaoru Yoshimura, Japanese Ambassador also commented on the very good collaboration between the governments of Ghana and Japan. He nicknamed NMIMR as the land of Gold and Platinum relating it to the abundance of Gold in Ghana and the abundance of Platinum in Japan.
Mr. Bernhard Abels, Deputy Head of Missions at German Embassy representing the German Ambassador expressed his appreciation to the VW Foundation for their support in international Medical Research; in that their main motive for starting the foundation was not narrow – focusing on only German institutions. He also acknowledged Ghana’s effort in the fight against Ebola.
Dr. Edwin Ampadu who spoke on behalf of the Director of the Ghana Health Service mentioned that research work should not be left on the bench but be practically be implemented at the “bedside” to support or improve upon the health system in the country.
from left: Mr. Mr. Bernhard Abels,Prof. Kwadwo A. Koram, Professor Patrick S. Ayeh-Kumi, Professor Francis K. Nkrumah,
His Excellency Kaoru Yoshimura,& Mr. Koji Makino.
The keynote address was given by Dr. Fred Wurapa. Dr. Wurapa commended NMIMR also for the various research activities on-going and a good collaboration with the Ghana Health Service. He also mentioned that NMIMR has participated actively in the activities of the College of Health Sciences. He duly acknowledged the LOC for the work done. Dr. Wurapa stated that the ARM gives a true expression of the Research activities carried out in the Institute and again added that ARM together with Biennial meetings will serve the purpose of disease control and Research in Ghana.
In his closing remarks, Professor Nkrumah expressed his appreciation to Dr. Fred Wurapa for giving the keynote address on a short notice and to VW Foundation for their support. He mentioned the need for a mass of researchers, supporting staff, infrastructure, links to healthcare services and adequate funding for projects. His expectation was to have diverse presentations on diseases of public health concern and an exciting and educative debate at the end of the conference.
The opening ceremony was also graced by Her Excellency Claudia Turbay, Colombian Ambassador , Mr. Koji Makino, JICA Country Representative, Professor Peter Schmid Swiss TPH, University of Basel, Professor Gerd Pluschke Swiss TPH, University of Basel and Professor Thomas Junghanss University of Heidelberg, Germany
The meeting continued with presentations from various research areas with a goodwill message from Professor Badu Akosa on the second day.
A special debate also on the theme “is Ghana prepared for an outbreak of any deadly disease?” crowned the activities of the meeting. The team who spoke against the motion that Ghana is not prepared (Team B) emerged winners of the debate.
The meeting ended with awards given to young researchers who won the best Oral and Poster Presentations. This was to serve as a motivation and to equip them to excel in the field of research.
Prof. Francis Nkrumah & Mr. Richard Akuffo (Best Oral Presenter) Prof. Thomas Junghanss & Mr. Christopher Abana (Best Poster Presentation)
Dr. Ger Steenbergen (Embassy of The Netherlands) & Mr. Isaac Tuffour Prof. Gerd Pluschke (SWISS TPH) & Ms. Esinam Agbosu (3rd Best Poster Presentation)
( Representing Ms. Abena A. Kissi-Twum- 2nd Best Poster Presentation)
The meeting was well attended with over 300 participants comprising of Medical Researchers and Practitioners, Health Policy and Decision Makers, Disease Control Program Managers, health related NGOs, the Scientific Community, Universities, Media and the General Public in the country.