The Ministry of Health and Vice Chancellors of Public Universities in Ghana, will soon disseminate findings from research conducted on the COVID-19 pandemic to contribute to decision making in fighting the respiratory disease.
Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Minister of Health, who engaged the Vice Chancellors at a meeting he dubbed: “Bringing the Academic Gowns to Town for the Sake of a Shared Humanity”, in Accra said the numbers of new infections reduced to as low as 25, which was a positive development.
However, Ghana as at Tuesday, November 10, 2020 had recorded an increasing numbers in COVID-19 active cases moving the active cases from over 620 as at November 3, 2020 to 1139 on Tuesday, November 10, 2020 with a record of 100 new cases.
He said the Ministry decided to work with Universities and Research institutions to coordinate information on COVID-19 to support the response by making informed decisions to contribute significantly to policy making.
Mr Agyeman-Manu said the Ministry with the Universities and other stakeholders were going to deliberate on the COVID-19, and its related matters such as wearing of face masks and why people were not adhering to its safety protocols as well as a possible vaccine deployment.
To promote a formative study to understand the COVID-19 vaccine acceptability, community perceptions and concerns, he said a trusted source of information was crucial, hence, the collaboration.
“This should inform the design of communication plans and messages that we could roll out in preparation for the COVID-19 vaccine introduction. I consider this meeting a round table discussion of experience sharing that would help in making decisions to avoid the second wave should that become the reality,” he said.
Professor John Gyapong, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS), and Chairman of Vice-Chancellors Ghana said the academics cherished the opportunity for collaboration as it gave them more platforms to contribute to fighting the respiratory disease.
Since Ghana recorded her first cases of COVID-19, he said, Universities had been at the forefront of the fight with institutions like the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (University of Ghana), Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology), and the UHAS playing a pivotal role in that regard.
He said recent publications of the West Africa Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens of the University of Ghana on the characterisation of the virus and antibody levels in the community was also very instructive in the initiative.
Prof. Gyapong said a collaboration between the Presidency, the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences (mainly drawn from Universities) and the Ghana Health Service in developing predictive models for the pandemic in Ghana was going to help in acquiring pertinent information on the initiative.
“Thus, we are very happy to contribute our quota to this all-important national agenda and therefore applaud the Ministry of Health for this initiative,” he said.
He appealed to government to back the initiative with the necessary resources to make it a fruitful venture for the country.