Training has begun on the newly established National Health Research Database (NHRD), a searchable, electronic repository of health research studies conducted in South Africa.
Over the past two days, representatives from the nine Provincial Health Research Committees have been in Salt Rock on the KwaZulu-Natal north coast, where they have been learning about the system.
The NHRD was developed by South African NGO, Health Systems Trust (HST), in conjunction with the National Department of Health, which funded the project.
The aim of the NHRD is to centralise research applications and enable users to track research trends in national health priority research areas.
Mpho Kgasi, Deputy Director in the Department of Health, said research played a major role in assisting the government in its efforts to determine health priorities and inform health policies and interventions.
“The NHRD looks at research as a vehicle towards improving the health status of South Africa’s communities.” Kgasi said there was an urgent need to reshape the research agenda and align it with the national drivers of health.
At the start of the two-day workshop, HST CEO, Dr Themba Moeti, said the training would allow the database to “come to life”. He said health research was important for generating new information, assisting in the development of new strategies and informing policy development.
Moeti said an enormous amount of research was undertaken in the country, given the immense health challenges and the many programmes and interventions implemented by the government. Therefore, it was important to have an organised way in which this research information was collected, and made accessible to people who needed it.
HST programmes manager, Tess Padayachee, said the NHRD would support and assist the provincial Health Research Committees to manage and co-ordinate the research processes in their provinces. Researchers, in turn, would get immediate feedback on their application status.
Demonstrations on the NHRD would be held at the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) conference in Cape Town later in September.
Wendy da CostaCommunications OfficerHealth Systems TrustTelephone: +27 (0) 31 266 9090Mobile: +27 (0) 82 312 9625Email: Wendy.daCosta@hst.org.za
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