The Ministry of Health has submitted 32 herbal drugs for testing to find a possible drug for Covid- 19 at the Center for Plant Medicine Research.

Over 70 private sector people have also submitted drugs they want tested, the Centre for Plant Medicine Research has said.

However, the Centre is yet to receive funding for this urgent research, which could be done in just a month. Racing against time, the Center is using its meagre resources which does not meet the World Health Organization’s standard.

They will need not less than $50 million to run an international standard facility.

Deputy Director for the Center Dr Alfred Appiah notes: “currently testing is going on at various stages and a proposal has been sent to the Health Ministry for the needed investment.”

The Center, like most research Centers in Ghana, depend largely on donor support. The Director of Noguchi memorial institute the lead in the testing of Covid-19 cases in Ghana, Abraham Annan told JoyBusiness last year, that government since 2009 has not provided any funding to the Center for research.

Africa’s input into research has been pegged at 1 per cent of the global investment. Ghana currently does some 0.4 per cent.

The World Health Organization adds that out of the 54 countries in Africa only South Africa contributes the largest investment into research with a current average of 0.78 per cent. However, Nigeria makes the highest contribution to herbal research in Africa – in fact, any significant inputs.
SARS and the herbal magic

China in recent times had to battle Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SAR). The herbal industry according to the World Health Organisation rescued the nation.

China, India, Nigeria and the United States of America (USA) are the leading countries in the world producing and consuming herbal drugs-WHO.
China’s annual herbal production is $48 billion. Just $2 billion of that could change Ghana’s economy.

UNCTAD warns FDI will drop by 40%

The latest UNCTAD projection indicates a worldwide drop in foreign direct investments.

The CEO of GIPC Yoofi Grant adds the situation for Ghana is dire.
Ghana projected an FDI of 1$0 billion from the 2018 figure of $3.5 billion.
The first quarter of the year looked good, with a 400 per cent rise in FDI-until coronavirus became a big international issue.
How does this affect research in Ghana?

Big time! More than 80 per cent of the funding for most research done in the state-owned research centres are from international collaborators. They at this time may either cut their funding support or look at internally supporting their agencies. Leaving various research works mid-way.

Time to Look Inward – GIPC

GIPC boss Yoofi Grant says it is time to look inward. “Take companies that are contributing to the economy and give them incentives. Let’s build our internal structures and technologies”.

Perhaps this is the time to pay attention to research and look at how to build industries which contribute hugely to employment.

Industries contribute the second largest to Ghana’s GDP and employ many.
The Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in a recent publication to the financial times indicated the need to turn attention on to the health sector. This cannot be done without research!