The Unit maintains three Health and Demographic Surveillance Systems, namely Farafenni, West Kiang, and Basse, to serve as platforms for a range of field studies aimed at improving understanding of public health in West Africa in particular, and the developing world in general. These platforms provide the best opportunity to generate much needed quantitative and qualitative evidence from scientific investigations to formulate or influence policy change with respect to health care delivery systems vis-à-vis an evolving pattern of disease burden in both children and adults.
The sites represent different geographical and environmental conditions as well as disease ecologies, and therefore collectively constitute a valuable scientific resource for the Unit to underpin its investigations relating to the SDGs across the three research themes, especially in relation to newborn and maternal health.
It has been active in building strong collaborative links with other West African institutions and has actively organized capacity building activities consisting of short course, post-graduate training and institutional strengthening. This platform is essential in further developing the Unit’s research activities in West Africa. This platform has created an alliance, the West Africa Global Health Alliance (WAGHA), with two Senegalese institutions, namely the Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) and the Institut de Recherche en Santé, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formation (‘IRESSEF’). WAGHA will focus initially on malaria, HIV and maternal and neonatal health as the main research topics.
Has existed since 2001 and provides the ideal framework to identify correlates of protection/risk against infection and disease in populations who are highly TB-exposed. It also allows studies of household transmission dynamics, biomarker research for diagnosis and treatment responses, and facilitates evaluation of novel diagnostic tests and host-pathogen interactions, all of which are required to inform TB vaccine designs of the future.
Combines MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM clinical services, the Sukuta Health Centre often used by the Vaccines & Immunity Theme to carry out clinical trials on vaccines, and the paediatric ward of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul. Merging these three different entities has the objective of better coordination for increasing clinical research.