Inspiring the next generation of Medical Doctors in The Gambia

As part of MRC Unit The Gambia’s (MRCG) community outreach activities which encourages young people from all backgrounds to visit The Unit to have a first-hand knowledge of our research, foster home-grown talents and inspire the next generation of Gambian doctors, on Wednesday 26 October 2016, received 44 final year medical students from the University of The Gambia (UTG).

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UTG students being welcomed by Unit Director, Prof Umberto D’Alessandro

During the visit, the medical students were given an insight into what a career in research has in store at a one-day event at MRCG. Accompanied by their lecturer, Dr Yaima Bwlga Batisk and Admin Officer Abdul Aziz Cham, the main objective of the visit was to find out more about The Unit’s research achievements, current research priorities and the collaborative partnership between MRCG and the Gambian Government.

As part of their visit, our clinicians; Dr Bully Camara, Dr Magnus Ochoge, Dr Jane Achan, Dr Abdou Sillah and Dr Momodou Jobe, gave a brief summary of their medical background, talked about their past and current projects and the key roles they played in those projects. The speakers elaborated on their research achievements, deliberated on their transition from medicine to research and gave the students solid advice on continuous professional development, specializations and getting into research that translates evidence into practice, policy and public health improvements.

Speaking at the event, Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, Unit Director, welcomed the students and gave them a brief introduction to MRCG. He explained The Unit’s funding model and scientific vision which he said is to “contribute to the control/elimination of infectious diseases of public health importance in West Africa and sub‐Saharan Africa, address the unacceptably high burden of maternal and neonatal mortality, design and implement next generation interventions against nutrition‐related diseases through discovery science, and strengthen research on NCD associated with infections.” He further added that “MRCG provide technical support to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through health facilities, while all research conducted by MRCG are approved by the Scientific Coordination Committee (SCC) and The Gambia Government/MRC Joint Ethics Committee (EC).”

According to Amadou Jallow, UTG student “this visit has presented me with a broad spectrum of knowledge in research medicine, which has actually influenced my decision to consider research medicine as a career path.” Martha Palmer, UTG student added, “this visit is really an eye opener to the various research areas within the profession of a Medical Doctor that goes beyond the clinic and the ward.”

The day ended with a tour of the clinical services, which the student found very useful, having seen first-hand what to expect after graduation and how their decisions to pursue medicine will impact positively in improving the lives of Gambians.