Engaging our research community in Bundung

The Open day of the Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV10) and the PregnAnZI-2 trials was an exciting opportunity to interact with the local community to learn exciting new interventions for improvements in maternal and child health. The event took place at the Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital (BMCHH), on Saturday 27th May 2017.

Speakers during the Open day

Speakers during the Open day

Under the theme, New Interventions to Improve Maternal and Child Health, the day was enlivened by drama presentations from the Local Kanyeleng Group and Drama Red Cross Volunteers and was attended by the Government of The Gambia through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, MRCG staff, BMCHH staff and the Bundung local community.

Speaking about the PCV10 trial, Dr Ed Clarke, Head of Infant Immunology said “The PCV10 trail with routine childhood vaccinations of an affordable pneumococcal conjugate vaccine candidate is a phase 3 vaccine randomized trial that will assess a new vaccine (PNEUMOSIL) against pneumococcus, the most common cause of life-threatening pneumonia (chest infection) as well as other serious infections in infants and children”.

Elaborating on the PregnAnZI-2 trail, Dr Ann Roca, Coordinator, Disease Control and Elimination Theme, said” the PregnAnZI-2 is a phase III double-blind trial that will assess the effect of one oral dose of azithromycin (an antibiotic) given during labour on neonatal mortality as well as maternal and neonatal severe infections (namely sepsis). This trial is a follow-up from PregnAnZI-1, which was successfully implemented at BMCHH. PregnAnZI-1 showed that azithromycin given to women during labour decreased carriage of bacterial, a necessary step for disease, among newborns. The former trial also showed a decrease in infections in both mothers and newborns. The aim of this series of PregnAnZI trials is to address a global health priority, maternal and neonatal health”.

Bundung community during the Open day

Bundung community during the Open day

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Alagie Sankareh, Regional Health Director for West Coast Region said, “Public health is a top priority across the region”. Noting that “seeking effective health interventions takes perseverance that the collaboration will lead to new effective interventions, to improve maternal and child health across our country and beyond”.

In his remarks, Unit Director, Prof Umberto D’Alessandro, expressed delight to see the MRCG working in close collaboration with the Bundung community, adding that Gambia is a small country but with its resources, can yield positive outcomes in the lives of people.

Representing the Chief Executive Officer of the BMCHH, Kebba Manneh, Administrator of BMCHH, commended the MRCG for its role in improving access to health within the community. He added that MRCG has given unprecedented assistance to the community of Bundung and that their work was appreciated by the local community indicating that the work of MRCG has impacted positively on the community.