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Research project halted over claims of misconduct

2010-07-29 20:42:02
This article has been read 925 times.

Research works that the Mobile Technology for Community Health Project (MOTECH) was undertaking at the Navrongo Health Research Centre has come to a halt.
The project was aimed at addressing the high maternal and neonatal mortalities in the region.

It was seeking ways of using mobile phones to make the work of community health officers more effective and transmitting health information via mobile phones to people in rural communities.

It was being done on pilot basis in the two Kassena Nankana District.

Dr John Koku Awoonor-Williams, Regional Director of Health Services, who read a statement he signed on behalf of Dr Elias Sory, Director General of Ghana Health Service (GHS), said the MOTECH project had come to a standstill because Columbia University in the USA had recalled its personnel working on the project.

This is because Ms Mame Yaa Busumtwi, a Public Health Specialist who worked on the project as the Communication Director and Editor of its Newsletter, started an advocacy against the Principal Investigator of the project, Dr. James Philips.

She accused Dr Philips of research misconduct, pay fraud and putting undue pressure on her to publish false information in the newsletter.

He said the campaign unduly touched the MOTECH project as a whole and made the Columbia University to recall its personnel for security reasons as Dr. Philips was threatened with arrest.

“All research staff and students from the Columbia University have been recalled to the USA for security reasons despite all the reassurances of the Ghana Health Service.”

“Technically, all projects of the University including MOTECH have grounded to a halt. Mothers and children are thus denied the very critical health interventions they are benefiting under the MOTECH project”, the statement said.

The project was planned to spread to other districts, had equipment, infrastructure renovation and upgrading of health provider buildings.

The GEHIP project worth over a million dollars billed for the Builsa, Bongo and Garu-Tempane districts had similarly been stalled.

The statement explained that the accusations levelled against Dr Philips had been widely circulated to financiers and potential financiers of health projects in the region and damaged the reputation of the GHS and the NHRC in the eyes of the international community.

The statement appealed to Ms. Busumtwi to stop threatening Dr Philips and other research staff and students from the Columbia University on MOTECH and other research projects in the region and also desist from sending threats and defamatory messages to the Regional Director of Health Services.

Ms Busumtwi, who was present at the press conference, said she did not intend to harm the GHS and NHCR but wanted to expose wrong doings of Dr Philips so that other foreigners who come to the country to do research would follow the right procedure.


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