16 December 2020
The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine held its annual Director’s Awards on 16th December 2020.

The event is organised every year to recognise the exceptional contributions of staff at the Unit. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Unit staged a virtual award ceremony on Zoom to honour winners for 2019 and 2020.

In his welcoming remarks, Unit Director Prof Umberto D’Alessandro thanked the Unit’s staff for their exceptional contributions to the success of our research. He recognised the dedication and commitment of the staff, highlighting the significant role the Unit has played to support The Gambia’s COVID-19 response. Prof D’Alessandro used the opportunity to honour five individuals and eight teams for their leadership in the COVID-19 response, stating that “The awards are being given as a special recognition for the extraordinary contributions from these individuals and teams towards the Unit’s COVID-19 response.”

Prof D’Alessandro also recognised Dr Uduak Okomo and Dr Abdoulie Bojang for winning the LSHTM Antimicrobial Resistance Centre’s Staff and Student Publication Prizes, respectively.

For the 2019 and 2020 Director’s Awards, staff members were honoured in five main categories: Inspirational Leader; Research Leader of Tomorrow; Science Support; Going The Extra Mile (G.E.M); and Outstanding Team.

Nominations for each of these categories were submitted by the general staff body, followed by the selection of winners by a panel of judges. The winner of the 2020 G.E.M award was selected by popular voting from the Unit’s staff.

Below is the full list of the 2019 and 2020 Director’s Awards winners:


  • Research Leader of Tomorrow:Dr Uduak Okomo
  • Science Support: Buba Fadera
  • Inspirational Leader: Gilleh Thomas
  • Outstanding Team: HIPC Team led by Dr Olubukola Idoko and Dr Oghenebrume Wariri
  • E.M. Award: Njilan Johnson and Saffiatou Darboe


  • Research Leader of Tomorrow: Dr Abdoulie Bojang
  • Science Support:Annick Faal
  • Inspirational Leader: Dr Grant Mackenzie
  • Outstanding Team: Data Developers Team andCOVID19 Diagnostic Team 
  • E.M. Award – Omar Minteh

Congratulations to all the winners!