Dec 30, 2011, 2:44 PM
Experts from the Ministry of Health and other stakeholders in the country on 20 October 2010 converged at the Jerma Beach Hotel to hold the first national conference on research for health in the last five years.
The theme for the daylong conference was: “Research for decision making and action”.
The ministry and its partners, including institutions and individuals, presented their various researches on health-related issues at the workshop.
Speaking on the occasion, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Matilda Boye, said improvement and remarkable advances in any health system can be attributed to breakthroughs in research, “as there can be no effective health system without an efficient research system in place”.
“Research generates knowledge and information that can be used to improve the performance of a health system, especially in the identification of the most efficacious interventions to prevent existing and emerging diseases or treat those that are not yet preventable,” PS Boye said.
She added: “Health and health-related issues in The Gambia have recently moved very high on the political agenda and have thus gained greater national and international visibility.
“Research has the potential of promoting and supporting adequate, effective and affordable health care services for the Gambian populace.”
She added that research is a priority for the Gambian government, which is manifested by the creation of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research Science and Technology, adding that the government has also established a research programme unit at the Directorate of Planning and Information at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
Modou Secka, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Economic Planning and Industrial Development, in his remarks on the occasion, said: “The health sector is faced with a number of critical challenges that will require concerted efforts by government and many stakeholders from a number of angles to overturn the situation.”
He added: “The formulation and implementation of the appropriate policies in the health sector is directly linked to the economic planning and development aspirations of the government. The health sector, education and agriculture have been identified as the priority sectors for development.”
The knowledge generated from health research can enrich the consultation process between the ministries of health, finance, and economic planning industry and development, he added.
Dr Thomas Sukwa, WHO country representative, said he has spent 18 years as a researcher in