It might sound funny to hear Ghanaians making claims that, whilst the white man is busy working in the lab and trying to find vaccines and cures for the novel covid-19, our Ghanaian scientists are nowhere to be found, probably praying for God’s mercy. But the fact of the matter is that, it isn’t at all funny.

Until we wake up from our long sleep and realize that science and technological research need as much attention and funding as possible, we will continue to make mockery of ourselves.Every now and then, we hear that a covid-19 case has been confirmed as positive at the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) and the Kumasi Center for Collaborative Research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), but do you know that these research centers were set up by foreigners?

The Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research (NMIMR) was set up in 1979  by the Government of Japan and donated to the Government and people of Ghana in honour of the distinguished Japanese researcher Dr. Hideyo Noguchi , who researched into yellow fever in Ghana and died from the disease in the country in 1928. The Kumasi Center for Collaborative research in Tropical Medicine (KCCR), on the other hand, was set up by the Germans.

The question now is, If these two countries hadn’t set up these research centres, where would we have been running our covid-19 tests?

If they didn’t know the essence of research, would they have invested in it for us to now be benefitting?

Our governments over the decades, have belittled our able scientists and rather, always relied on importing almost everything. Common indelible ink for elections, we  import from India even though it is known that the Department of Chemistry, KNUST, can easily produce enough for the nation.

If the Government does not regard our able scientists, why then should we blame them?

Most of our scientists win grants from donors in those same foreign countries we regard as our ‘senior brothers’.

These foreign donors know the capabilities of Ghanaian scientists. They provide the necessary funding for them to carry out their research activities.

And you would hear debates as to whether we should construct a national cathedral or not.

You would hear debates as to whether we should construct a new parliament house or not.

But you will never hear them debate whether we should give financial aid to our scientists for research purposes or put up research centres across the country. And now the people expect the ‘ forsaken scientists’ to save Ghana?

Can you imagine working on such an infectious virus as the novel covid-19 and all of a sudden the power goes off?

What would have been the fate of those working in the lab?

This is a wake up call to the Government(s) of Ghana, present and future, that the only way we can close all borders and not depend on any other country is when we make massive investments into our science and technological research.

Our scientists are far better than what most people think of them.Just for your information, KNUST is currently the best University in Ghana and West Africa, which  is as a result of the quality of research we do here in KNUST. So before you blame the scientists, ask the Government what it has done to help  them do what you expect them to be doing. God save our homeland Ghana.

Peace be upon you.

By: Mohammed-Awal Seidu (Research Assistant; KNUST Central Laboratory).
23/03/2020

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