The Dodowa Health Research Centre (DHRC) was created as part of the agreements between the Government of Ghana and the British Oversees Development Agency (now DFID) to have an operation research satellite station in the early 1990’s.
Since its origin in the early 1990’s, the centre has a close relation with the Dangme West District Health administration, the Dangme West district Assembly and the Navrongo and Kintampo Research Centres. At that time, the head of the district research and the head of the district health management team were vested in the same person, and the physical facilities were also placed on the same compound.
Dodowa Health Research Centre is placed in Dodowa, the district capital of the Dangme West district (now Shai-Osudoku and Ningo-Prampram districts since July 2012) of the Greater Accra Region, Ghana (figure 1).
The Dangme West district is divided into four sub-districts (Dodowa, Ningo, Osudoku and Prampram) and has seven area councils (Ayikuma, Asutsuare, Dodowa, Dawa, Ningo, Osuwem and Prampram). There are a total of 21 static health facilities (15 public and 6 private), 53 chemical sellers, 5 Pharmacies and 5 laboratories (3 public and 2 private).
The estimated mid-year population of Dodowa for 2010 was 148,909 inhabitants. The district is fairly rural and the dominant ethnic group is Dangme (72%), followed by Ewes (13.7) with other minor ethnic groups constituting one percent of the population. Christianity (>80%) forms the main religious faith among the population. Women in fertility age accounted for 26.7% of the total population in 2008 and with a slight increase by mid-2009 (26.9%). On educational attainment in general, 37% have never received any formal education (mid 2009). Majority of the people depend on farming as their main livelihood (Dodowa Health Research Centre, biennial report 2008-2009).
In terms of research, since the beginning Dodowa Health Research Centre has been focused on Malaria operations research. In 2005, the research centre set up a Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS). This HDSS covers an area of 1,528.9 square kilometers.
Due to the growing of the centre, in 2004 a new infrastructure was built to host the actual research centre and the two functions (head of research and head of the district health management) were separated for the first time (DHRC, Annual report 2005).
In 2011, the direction of the DHRC decided to develop a strategic planning to guide the continuous growing of the center, to improve results and to be more efficient. The strategic plan analysed the factors that influence the structure, function and identity of DHRC. The Millennium development goals, Global research initiatives, the Health Sector Medium-Term Development Plan 2010-2013 of the Ghana Health Service, the health system, the health status of the population, health research in Ghana and the internal diagnosis of the DHRC have been reviewed to define the mission, vision, values and strategic lines of DHRC and its research agenda for the next five years.