Written by danquahinstitute.org Monday, 03 August 2009 20:31
Danquah Institute's research projects for 2009 fall within the purview of one of our two major thematic programmes: governance and media. Both are run by our in-house research department, with specific projects drawing on the skills and knowledge of individual researchers as the project requires. Whilst our major projects for this year are exclusively within these fields, we plan to expand our capacity in 2010 into the economic sphere.
Election Analysis, Governance Programme - Ongoing
One of the major ongoing projects at the DI is a detailed post-election analysis of the results. Building on the first-hand knowledge and insight gained last year during our involvement with the election campaign, our researchers have undertaken detailed research on both the parliamentary and presidential results, in both rounds from the national level right down to individual constituencies. Combining this with exclusive data collected by the DI from each constituency in the run-up to the election has enabled the Danquah Institute to provide a unique and authoritative account of the underlying factors influencing the result.
Much of this analysis will be published in the DI Quarterly, as well as being serialised in the major daily national newspaper, The Statesman, amongst others.
The Media and the 2008 Election, Media Programme 2Q-3Q
Complementing our Election Analysis Project, the Media and the Election project looks at how the print and broadcast media covered the election, collating information on the number and angle of stories in the newspaper, and conducting research into the effect of news coverage on the campaigns, parties and public.
This research will be presented at a seminar convened later in the year (see below).
Course on Economic Freedom 2Q
As a believer in the principles of free trade market economies and fundamental individual rights, the Danquah Institute intends promoting these philosophies primarily amongst students, activists, young professionals and teachers or lecturers through series of programs in a camp environment.
The programs shall combine debates, group discussions and lectures with topics as the Basis of freedom, What is freedom, Basic principles of economics and what economic freedom entails, What are the conditions of economic freedom, economic freedom and prosperity, Ghana’s economic and political freedom, Democracy and economic freedom etc.
At the end of the camp, participants will present proposals to study Ghana’s economic problems or issues. The selected proposal shall have its writer awarded a scholarship to study community development and advocacy worth US$7,000.
Government Communications Structure, Media Programme 2Q
This Project builds on the communications expertise of the Danquah Institute, headed as it is by a former Editor-in-Chief of The Statesman and with the Head of Research, Nana Attobrah Quaicoe, having studied for a Masters in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana with a background in professional journalism.
The DI proposes to carry out detailed research to identify the weaknesses of the present system of Government Communications under both current and former administrations. Drawing on detailed interviews with key individuals within the Government Communications Structure, this project will enable the DI to present a conclusive picture of the flaws and limitations of the existing set-up. This will form the foundation for a detailed series of proposals for reform, which will be formulated on the basis of comparative research and expert consultations.
This will be published in July.
Decentralisation and Local Government, 3QGovernance Programme
One of the most talked about issues in Ghana, decentralisation has been the subject of prolific examination from numerous quarters. Nevertheless, the importance of the issue and the fact that all the discourse has produced next-to-no action has prompted the DI to weigh in on this vitally important subject. By undertaking fieldwork across the country, and combining this with high-levels interviews, the Danquah Institute will produce a clear, concise report set within a rigorous theoretical framework gained from comparative analysis carried out by one of our researchers at the University of Oxford. Setting out a compelling case for the reform of the current system, the DI’s proposals will reflect our commitment to liberal democracy and individual rights by advocating greater democratisation within a historically and cultural sensitive system.
The report will be launched in October/November in conjunction with a campaign to ensure maximum impact amongst decision-makers and the media.
Challenges in Health Care Personnel Training 3Q
A lot has been said and written about the inadequate supply of healthcare professionals from Ghana’s health training institutions. The NPP advocated for a National Health Insurance System (NHIS) to replace the obnoxious cash and carry system.
When it came to power in 2001, it moved to fulfill that campaign promise. In its passion to abolish the cash and carry system, it ignored the many criticisms against the NHIS, not the least the expected influx of patients. The critics were worried that the system did not have the staffing capacity to handle high patient turnout. While outpatient department attendance has increased from a yearly average of 0.38 per capita in 2001 to 0.7 per capita in 2007 the enormous growth and spread in coverage of the National Health Insurance Scheme may have reduced the problem of cash and carry system of the past but then it has intensified the challenges in the availability of healthcare personnel. Indeed due to the NHIS, healthcare facilities have been grossly overwhelmed. The country thus faces an uphill challenge in the provision of basic healthcare.
While out patients department attendance has increased from a yearly average of 0.38 per capita in 2001 to 0.7 per capita in 2007, the ratio of doctors and nurses to patients is woefully skewed and hence the further choking of our hospitals with patients without sufficient doctors, nurses and laboratory scientist to attend to them, the contact hours between doctors and patients are also shortened.
Ghana has six public universities, ten polytechnics and several private universities but only the College of Health Sciences at University of Ghana and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and technology (KNUST) for instance run programs in clinical laboratory sciences. Again, only KNUST offers program in Pharmacy. All ten polytechnics run programs in industrial laboratory sciences but not clinical. The country’s total enrollment for nurses training colleges has jumped from 700 students in 2000 to 7000 students in 2008 but yet it’s inadequate.
The Danquah Institute proposes to examine the feasibility of expanding or including the polytechnics as health training institutions thus pushing for reforms in health care education and training at the tertiary level.
It proposes to do this through field work across the country combined with sessions with the stake holders such as committee of vice chancellors and principals (CVCP), National Accreditation Board, Nurses and Midwifery Council for Ghana, Ministry of Health, Coalition of NGO’s in health, World Health Organization (WHO) Ghana office and health workers.
At the end of the sessions, DI will sponsor the preparation of curriculum, faculty recruitment policy and the M.O.U between the 10 regional hospitals which will serve as practical training centres for the personnel and the 10 polytechnics.
Biometric Voting, Governance Programme 4Q
The final major DI programme for 2009 will look at the advantages, disadvantages and feasibility of introducing a biometric system of voting for Ghana’s 2012 Presidential and Parliamentary election. This issue was first put on the political agenda in Ghana by the DI’s Executive Director in the wake of the 2008 election. Despite the praise Ghana received from the international community for a largely peaceful, free and fair election, for those closely involved with the polls it is clear that this must be no cause for complacency as there were significant irregularities that must be addressed. Biometric voting has been successfully implemented in countries spanning the globe – from Venezuela to South Korea, with Mozambique set to join their ranks following their October 2009 elections. The DI’s research department will undertake analysis of the success of the system elsewhere and its suitability for use in Ghana.
This will support the major national symposium the DI will be convening on the subject on 7 December 2009.