The official opening ceremony of the brand new research institute “Institut de Recherche, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formation” (IRESSEF) in Diamniadio, took place on Monday, June 19, 2017. The facility was inaugurated by the President of the Republic of Senegal, His Excellency President Macky Sall.
IRESSEF is one of the three partners of the West Africa Global Health Alliance (WAGHA) alongside MRC Unit The Gambia and Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD).This brand new institute with state-of-the-art equipment, laboratories, surveillance and training facilities will enable the conduct of cutting edge public health interventions and research for Senegal and beyond. It will also serve as a regional resource that can generate robust primary surveillance data to promote the rapid application of sophisticated analytics that will track the geographical distribution of disease and capacity to act on those findings which are of great concern with other regional bodies.
The official inauguration ceremony was linked to several scientific activities, including a two-day international symposium from 19 and 20 June 2017. The event provided an international platform for participants and members of the Alliance to discuss the theme: Building Partnerships to advance surveillance and response to disease threats, Laboratory Quality Management Systems and Access to Quality Diagnostics, and Public Health Research in Africa.
In attendance were, Unit Director, Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, Professor Tumani Corrah, Emeritus Director and other MRCG staff including Mr Dembo Kanteh, Prof Martin Antonio, Dr Assan Jaye, Jonas Lexow, Yai Louise Ndure-Bensouda, Dr Abdul Karim Sesay, Dr Florian Gehre and Ismaila Danso. Renowned researchers and managers in the field of tropical medicine, global health and infectious diseases from USA, Africa and Europe and members of the WAGHA alliance were also in attendance.
According to Prof Professor Souleymane Mboup, “The goal of IRESSEF is to become a modern, 21st century, leading global health institution in Senegal and Africa”. To achieve this goal, IRESSEF has developed state-of-the-art equipment to meet new research standards and will help improve research in West Africa.
Speaking at the ceremony, Professor Umberto D’Alessandro said, “The creation of IRESSEF, responds to a real need for developing medical research in Africa and produce outputs that can be used to improve the health of the local populations”. He added, “The MRC Unit The Gambia has a long-standing partnership with Senegalese academic institutions such as the University Cheikh Anta Diop. In addition, we have recently created and launched the West Africa Global Health Alliance, an alliance between the IRESSEF, UCAD and MRCG, with the aim of creating a regional hub of excellence for health-related medical research and training.”