27 May 2022
The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (MRCG at LSHTM) officially inaugurated a new Clinical Trial facility at the Banjulinding Health Centre on Tuesday 24th May, 2022.
The new facility funded by PATH, was constructed for the implementation of the phase 3, double blinded, randomized, controlled trial to assess the safety of the novel type 2 oral polio vaccine (nOPV2) in infants and young children, and lot-to-lot consistency of the immune response to n0PV2 infants in The Gambia.
The new facility in Banjulinding will support the Unit’s vision to lead research in the sub-region and to further inform health policies. The state-of-the-art infrastructure, built in 2021, consists of 4 Consenting Rooms, 6 Clinical Assessment Rooms, 2 Randomization and Vaccination Rooms, 2 Clinical Sampling rooms, a Pharmacy, and an Emergency Room.
Delivering the inaugural statement, Professor Assan Jaye, Head of Research Training and Career Development at the MRCG at LSHTM said, “This is another important milestone for the Unit, because it is a manifestation of our mission of working with the community and stakeholders to improve lives through health services and health delivery. The MRCG at LSHTM is grateful to the Ministry of Health for always being willing to collaborate and support our research programs and infrastructural plans in major health facilities”.
Professor Jaye added, “We must work together to fulfil our mission, and we are grateful that this is being increasingly recognised and strengthened. This new clinical trials facility will strengthen the relations between the MRCG at LSHTM and the community of Banjulinding, as we look forward to more research activities within this area and beyond”.
Dr Momodou Nyassi, the Deputy Director of Health Services, spoke on the significance of the clinical trials building and the collaboration with the MRCG at LSHTM.
He said, “The MRCG at LSHTM has been contributing to healthcare delivery in The Gambia for many years. This building will provide results that will inform health policies and will further provide evidence to address health problems within the sub-region. The MRCG at LSHTM has been providing trainings and technical assistance to the Ministry of Health for many years. At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MRCG at LSHTM was at the forefront of testing, analysing, and admitting COVID-19 patients. Therefore, we are grateful and will continue to work together with the institution to improve healthcare in The Gambia and beyond.”
The Officer in Charge (OIC) of the Banjulinding Health Centre Mrs Haddy Badjie shared similar feedback and urged the community to participate in research activities.
“In all the regions, the MRCG at LSHTM is conducting research programs which will inform health policies. The work of this Unit complements the government’s efforts to provide standard healthcare delivery. However, these trials wouldn’t be successful without community participation, and that is why we need the support and collaboration of the community to ensure that the trials are successful”, she said.
Momodou Lamin Jarjue, the Alkalo of Banjulinding said, “We are grateful to the MRCG at LSHTM, and we will continue to support the research programs that will be conducted here. At community level, we will participate as expected and ensure that the environment is conducive for the Unit to conduct research activities.”
The MRCG at LSHTM has built several clinical trial facilities in Brikama, Sukuta, Kanifing and Fajikunda to complement government’s efforts to improve healthcare delivery and health systems in The Gambia.
As part of the inauguration, recently undertaken clinical trials at the Banjulinding Health Centre such as the PRIMODIAL, n0PV2 and HIPC trials were spotlighted.
The inauguration was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Health, UNICEF The Gambia, community leaders and members, staff from the Banjulinding Health Centre and the MRCG at LSHTM, as well as cultural and drama groups.