Mrs Sheila Y. Mensah, Senior Communications, Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor, Regional Health Office USAID/West Africa, on Friday said research and evaluation was an important tool to improving health care in the Sub-Saharan region.
She said that the Sub-Saharan region should invest in building the capacity of local health research institutions to encourage them come up with quality research findings on health to help policymakers make informed decisions.
Mrs Mensah said this at the launch of a free online certificate programme in health project evaluation and operations research, organised by USAID/West Africa’s Evidence for Development (E4D), in conjunction with the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA), in Accra.
The online certificate course, which is hosted on AfrEA’s website, are intended to strengthen research and evaluation capacity of researchers throughout the sub-region.
Mrs Mensah said investing in research and evaluation ensured that resources were used for its intended purposes. She added that for them at USAID/WA-E4D to accomplish their mission as leading and catalysing sustainable health impact, they needed the data and evidence to understand where they should invest to improve those health indicators.
‘We are interested in the improving the results of health indicators for West and Central Africa. In other for us to be able to reach those goals globally and in the Sub-region, we need the evidence or data to help us understand where we should invest and where we should focus our resources to improve those health indicators’.
She said building the capacity of the local research institutes through the free online programme would improve research in West and Central Africa.
‘We want to ensure that the evidence is generated by local institutions. And hopefully by 2020 we will be able to contract directly with one of these institutions.’
Dr. Kingsley Arkorful, Executive Director of AfrEA, said that the courses on the programme have been streamlined to build the capacity of the members in gathering and evaluating data.
‘There are eleven modules and each module takes three to four hours to complete. Anybody, going through this work, will gain more knowledge, more skills in research and evaluation.’ he said.
The online platform will reach out widely to all the Voluntary Organization for Professional Evaluation (VOPEs) and members in both French and English speaking Africa.
Professor Seni Kouanda, a member of AfrEA from Burkina Faso lauded the programme and said it will will increase the capacity of members’ to undertake quality evaluations as well as influence government in using evaluation results for evidence based decision making in their respective countries.
The USAID/West Africa’s Evidence for Development is a five-year (January 2015 – January 2020) activity with the overall objective of increasing the availability of evidence in health interventions to inform policy advocacy and programme planning, including resource allocation.
By Dennis Osei Gyamfi, GNA