A ceremony at the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) in Banjul on 20 January celebrated the opening of refurbished facilities completed by MRC Unit The Gambia, funded through The West African Network of Excellence for Tuberculosis (TB), AIDS and Malaria (WANETAM).
As part of MRC Unit The Gambia and the WANETAM’s shared commitment to build capacity for West African scientists, the MRC has renovated the former neonatal ward of the Paediatric Unit at EFSTH in to a conference room and library. The refurbishments include computers and an internet connection which will be funded for one year. The renovated area will be used by medical students in the department of paediatrics to support and enhance their studies.
Funded by the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, WANETAM’s mission is to build capacity at West African sites for clinical trials in HIV, TB and malaria. The WANETAM network consists of 20 institutions in 12 countries.
The subsequent WANETAM Plus grant continued to build on the strategic objective of capacity building for West African scientists by supporting a number of short-term training sessions.
Dr Martin Antonio, Senior Scientist and Unit Molecular Biologist at MRC Unit The Gambia, leads the TB work package for the WANETAM consortium and Unit Director Professor Umberto D’Alessandro is a WANETAM collaborator.
The ceremony also included the official presentation of equipment donated to the Paediatric Unit by MRC Unit The Gambia, including two oxygen concentrators, a photocopying machine and equipment in the SMAC lab such as haematology analysers, a colorimeter and microscopes.
Also present at the ceremony was Dr Kalifa Bojang, seconded to the EFSTH from The Unit in 2011 as Head of Paediatrics, who said: “The relationship between MRC Unit The Gambia and the EFSTH has proved mutually beneficial, allowing the MRC to carry out research that addresses important public problems in The Gambia.
“The hospital benefits from the teaching and clinical services provided by skilled physicians and highly qualified nursing staff from the MRC. The renovation of the former neonatal ward into a meeting room and library will further enhance teaching and learning in the department of paediatrics.”