MRC presents equipment to the Gambian Government

In a ceremony attended by senior representatives of the Gambian Government, MRC Unit The Gambia handed over equipment to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through the Global Fund Asset Transfer, on Tuesday 23rd December 2014.

The Global Fund Nationwide Gambian Survey of TB prevalence (GAMSTEP) was done in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the MRC, through its agency, the National Leprosy and TB Programme. The project set out to determine the prevalence of TB in The Gambia.

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The Honourable Omar Sey, Minister of Health and Social Welfare and Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, Unit Director at the ceremony.

WHO estimates of TB prevalence in The Gambia were 490 per 100,000 people but the survey showed overall national prevalence of all forms of TB to be 128 per 100,000 people, about four times lower than previously estimated.

100,678 Gambians in 138,857 households were invited, of which 55,831 were eligible to participate in the survey. The project involved symptom screening of all participants with prolonged cough via chest X-rays, and sputum testing.

As part of the project documentation and agreement, equipment used during the recruitment process was handed over to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare as required by the Global Fund and Country Coordinating Mechanisms, for use within the health sector.

In the ceremony, MRC Unit The Gambia handed over six motorcycles, a mini truck, three laptops and two sets of X-ray machines to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

On presenting the equipment, Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, Director of MRC Unit The Gambia said: “This project is a fantastic example of the collaboration existing between the Gambian Ministry of Health and MRC Unit The Gambia. We are together in fighting diseases of major importance in The Gambia and Africa.

“We provide the Ministry of Health with information to better control infectious diseases. The TB prevalence project, which included about 50,000 participants aged over 15 years, found that The Gambia has already reached the Millennium Development Goal for TB.”

In appreciation, the Honourable Omar Sey, Minister of Health and Social Welfare, thanked the MRC for the continued partnership that exists between the MRC and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. He also expressed gratitude for MRC Unit The Gambia’s involvement in the development of the Strategic Plan and thanked the MRC for providing Ebola prevention training to the National task force.