MRC Unit The Gambia Hosts International Stakeholder Symposium

The Unit’s revitalised scientific strategy was showcased at a  on Wednesday 11th January 2012 in The Gambia.

MRC Unit The Gambia Stakeholder Symposium Panel

An international panel of experts deliberates on training and capacity building at the MRC Unit The Gambia Stakeholder Symposium. From left: Professor Charles Mgone, Executive Director, EU European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership; Dr Placido Domingo, Director General, West African Health Organisation; panel chair – Professor Baron Peter Piot, Dean of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Dr Morven Roberts, Medical Research Council UK; Professor Tumani Corrah, Unit Director , MRC Unit The Gambia

Senior representatives from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the WHO, the West African Health Organisation, the EU European Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, the Wellcome Trust and international pharmaceutical companies were joined by officials from the Gambia Government, UN and the University of The Gambia. The Gambia Unit’s scientific leaders shared their research and engaged participants through panel discussion on The Unit’s vision. The Chief Executive of the MRC, Professor Sir John Savill, leading an MRC team from the UK, was also in attendance.

Participants spent the afternoon at the MRC’s Fajara site, where they were joined by HE The Vice President, Aja Dr Isatou Njie Saidy, the Minister of Health & Social Welfare, Hon Fatim Badjie and members of the Diplomatic Corps.  Guests witnessed the quality of infrastructure support available within The Unit first hand, and interacted with researchers who led guided tours and explained The Unit’s scientific objectives.

A number of participants also visited the MRC’s Field Station in Basse. The trip included a tour of Basse Major Health Centre and the MRC’s entomology field site at Walikunda.

Commenting at the official closing ceremony on the MRC’s long-standing presence in The Gambia, HE the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia, Aja Dr Isatou Njie Saidy said ‘Health is the Gambia Government’s number one priority…The international community, including technical partners, bilateral agencies, multilateral organisations, pharmaceutical organisations are critical to this process. But we must not forget the pivotal role of research institutions: we in The Gambia are fortunate to have a leading research institution in our country that has made major contributions to the health status of people in our Sub-Region and beyond.’

MRC Unit The Gambia Stakeholder Symposium, visit to Wali Kunda

Left: Stakeholders’ field trip to Basse during their stop-off at the MRC’s entomology field site at Walikunda. Right: a tour of the MRC’s laboratories at Fajara. From left: Dr Martin Ota, Senior Scientist (MRC Unit The Gambia) with Professor Corrah, HE the Nigerian High Commissioner to The Gambia, Mrs Esther Audu; the Minister of Health & Social Welfare, Hon Fatim Badjie and HE the Vice President of the Republic of The Gambia, Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy