Boosting momentum in Public Health Research in West Africa with WAGHA

3 May 2017

The logo for the West Africa Global Health Alliance (WAGHA), to boost scientific research in public health, was launched on Friday 7th April 2017 at the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Dakar.

New Logo unveiled by Sir John Savill and Prof Ibrahima Thioub

New Logo unveiled by Sir John Savill and Prof Ibrahima Thioub

The goal of the alliance is to create a research and training hub in West Africa as well as develop exchange visits amongst the three entities from the member institutions. This agreement was made between the University Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD), the Institute of research in health, epidemiological monitoring and training (IRESSEF) and The MRC represented by the MRC Unit The Gambia (MRCG), the single largest investment of the Medical Research Council (MRC) the United Kingdom.

The unveiling ceremony was well attended by representatives from the Senegalese Ministries of Higher Education and Health, Sir John Savill, MRC UK Chief Executive, Ambassadors of Great Britain in Senegal, the Rector, University of UCAD, the Directors and senior scientific staff of the three partner institutions, collaborators and a wide array of the Senegalese media.

In his remarks, the Rector of UCAD Prof Ibrahima Thioub pointed out that within the University the focal point of the WAGHA is the Service of Human Parasitology at the Faculty of Medicine and Odontology but that WAGHA is accessible to all researchers within the University. “It is, in fact, a project we signed in November 2016, to put in place, for the benefit of public health research in Senegal and in the sub-region”, he said.

The Chief Executive of the MRC, Professor Sir John Savill said, “Our actions must be focused on infectious diseases affecting the health of women and children”, adding that scientific research on chronic infectious diseases will also be a priority.

According to Professor Souleymane Mboup (IRESSEF), this alliance is a historic moment in the pooling of forces in global health research. The MRCG, in view of its experience for over 70 years, is equipped with sufficient resources to facilitate our alliance research objectives.

Prof Umberto D’Alessandro speaking at the ceremony

Prof Umberto D’Alessandro speaking at the ceremony

Professor Souleymane Mboup also said that “the biggest achievement in life is to see one’s dream come true”. Adding that he is convinced that “WAGHA will be a success”.

Prof Umberto D’Alessandro, MRCG Unit Director, welcomed the realisation of this dream while stating that “We (the 3 institutions) have decided to join forces to increase our capacity to carry out world-class research and training. We are already collaborating in several research projects and this Alliance will further promote such collaboration”.

For its part, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Senegal, Gorges Hodgson felt that this alliance is logical in the context of the cooperation between the two countries. “There are already a lot of other forms of cooperation that have been developed between our two countries, particularly in human and social sciences among others. “But this time, it’s a fight that we decided to meet together to save lives,” he said.