History and Background of Research and Development Division
Ghana has a long tradition of medical research dating back to the early 1900s. However, he involvement of policy makers and program implementors in research became more prominent in the 1980s. Prior to the establishment of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), the antecedent unitary Ministry of Health established the Health Research Unit within the Policy Planning Monitoring and Evaluation Division (PPMED). The Health Research Unit was charged with the responsibility of coordinating research for the GHS.
Subsequently, three health research centers in Navrongo, Kintampo and Dodowa were set up in the three ecological zones of the country to undertake complex policy related research.
The creation of a Research and Development Division (RDD) as a stand-alone division from the PPMED became necessary to highlight the importance of Health Research and Development in the overall context of the country’s developmental agenda. The main rationale for this is the fact that research is not only essential for policy formulation but also for program implementation (operational and epidemiological), for service delivery and indeed every aspect of the health sector.
The RDD became functional in January 2009 with the aim to strengthen, harmonize, coordinate and support research for health sector policy and program development and implementation. The Division is guided by principles and clear vision to help provide empirical data for policy formulation to improve the health service delivery system in the country.
Further, the RDD is mandated to generate information through relevant research to strengthen decision making, setting of health priorities, ensure efficient resource allocation, and inform intervention planning and implementation to deliver better health services to improve the health status of the Ghanaian population.
The Division is headed by a Director who is responsible for the overall coordination of the activities of the Division as well as overseeing the functioning of the various Departments and Centres under the Division. There are three departments and three research centres under the Division. Each Department and Research Centre is headed by a Deputy Director who reports to the Divisional Director. The Departments are Research Coordination; Dissemination, Documentation and Advocacy; and Ethics and Research Management. The three Research Centres are strategically located in the main ecological zones of Ghana – Navrongo Health Research Centre (NHRC) in the northern belt (Savannah), Kintampo Health Research Centre (KHRC) in the middle belt (Forest) and Dodowa Health Research Centre (DHRC) in the southern belt (Coastal).
The three Research Centres undertake specific research as per the needs and priority of the GHS and contribute to the generation of knowledge for the use of the sub-region and global international health.
Research at the Regional and District levels of Service Delivery
Research as a tool for development is essential at the Regional and District levels. Therefore, RDD also oversees/supports Research teams (a group of staff with the capacity and interest in research but with other primary responsibilities) at the regional and district levels of service delivery to perform operational research based on the local research needs in the region and ensuring efficient use of resources. The overarching goal is to ensure that all managers are equipped with the basic skills of operational research and generating evidence to inform practice.
Mandate of RDD
The mandate of the Division is to strengthen, harmonize, coordinate, and support research for Health Sector Policy and Program Development and Implementation.
Objectives of the Division
The objectives are to
- Conduct research in line with National Health Research Agenda
- Ensure Health Research Protocols comply with prevailing scientific and ethical standards
- Document and Disseminate health research findings for advocacy & policy
- Build and Strengthen Health Research Capacity within GHS
- Mobilize resource for health research in GHS
- Collaborate with Divisions/Programmes for research activities
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