Dr Patrick Kuma–Aboagye, Director General, Ghana Health Service, on Wednesday urged Ghanaian scientists to use science as the fundamental basis to support society in addressing its challenges.
He said “The role of scientists will be essential in ensuring that Ghana indeed become a vaccine manufacturing country,” he said, pointing out that political commitment alone will not result in vaccine production.
Dr Kuma Aboagye, said this when he gave the keynote address at the 32nd Biennial Conference of the Ghana Science Association.
The conference on the theme: “Mitigating Covid-19 pandemic: The quest for scientific and technological innovations,” brought scientists from the various universities and scientific based organizations to discuss scientific and technological innovative approaches towards mitigating of covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Kuma-Aboagye said the many successes chalked by science in the current covid-19 pandemic provided evidence that the role of science in “our lives cannot be underestimated”.
“The record time taken to produce vaccines show how much science has advanced and continues to contribute to sustaining humanity… in Ghana, The Presidential Vaccine Manufacturing Committee includes distinguished scientists such as Prof. William Ampofo who has for decades played a key role in public health services for viral infections in Ghana.”
The Ghana Health Service boss, called on the Scientific community to strengthen the concept of community engagement and risk communication with the general public
“We need to look critically at communication as part of our strategies to engender a holistic appreciation of the critical role science plays in our day to day lives…let us avail ourselves to be trained on the art of communicating with lay persons in our respective areas of expertise to enable us to communicate effectively with the general population on issues of concern,” Dr Kuma-Aboagye said.
He also urged the Ghana Science Association to undertake research and lead in advocacy for reducing air pollution as well as find innovative ways of restoring our water bodies to their desirable state in addition to researching into sustainable mining within our Ghanaian context.
The Ghana Science Association, he said, was a critical stakeholder in our nation’s development, calling on the Association to not only focus on Covid-19 but move beyond it to support the total development of the country.
Professor William Gariba Akwanwariwiak, President of the Ghana Science Association, said the three-day biennial conference sought to bring to bear the effort and innovative technological advances of the scientific community in curtailing the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic
He pointed out that scientists in Ghana had risen to the challenge and brought about some innovations such as a large scale surveillance and testing of Covid-19 cases among the populace, developing diagnostic tests, zero-surveillance of the general population, sequencing variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the country to advise vaccine choices as well as developing low cost ventilators towards a self-reliant Ghana.
At the end of the conference, a communique to government, policy makers and the general public will be released.
The conference will also be used to link recognised platforms within the scientific community for regular interactions between scientists, industrial players as well as policy makers to ensure the uptake of innovations for the country