The visit of Professor Sir John Savill to The Gambia and Senegal

On Monday 3 April 2017, MRC Unit The Gambia welcomed Professor Sir John Savill, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, United Kingdom (MRC UK).Sir John Savill, began his term as Chief Executive and Deputy Chair of the MRC in October 2010.

Sir John Savill and WAGHA patners during the lunching of the WAHGA Logo in Senegal

Sir John Savill and WAGHA partners during the launching of the WAGHA Logo in Senegal

As part of his visit to The Gambia and Senegal, Professor Sir John Savill paid a courtesy call to His Excellency, Adama Barrow, President of the Republic of The Gambia. He was accompanied by the Minister of Health Saffie Lowe Ceesay, Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, MRCG Unit Director and Dr Jonathan Pearce, Head of the Infection and Immunity Board, MRC UK. Sir John Savill visited Keneba field station and spent a night there before travelling to Dakar for a 2-day visit to our West Africa Global Health Alliance (WAGHA) partners in Senegal to formally launch WAGHA and unveil its new logo. He also met with the Minister of Higher Education and the Minister of Health.

At MRCG, Sir John Savill elevator talks were presented from our three research theme, Disease Control and Elimination, Vaccines and Immunity, and Nutrition. Professor Sir John Savill was impressed by the quality of science The Unit produces and its impact on global health. While touring our Molecular Laboratories and the Clinical Services in Fajara, the Chief Executive was also impressed with our infrastructural improvements.

At our Field Station in Keneba, Sir John Savill officially commissioned the construction of the new visitor’s accommodation. In appreciation, during the opening ceremony of the construction site the Seifo (regional chief) and the Alkalo’s (village chiefs) from the 3 core villages (Manduar, Kantong Kunda and Jali) in the West Kiang presented the Chief Executive with a goat as a token of appreciation for the work MRCG is doing in the West King.

Sir John Savill laying the foundation for the new construction site in Keneba Field Station

Sir John Savill laying the foundation for the new construction site in Keneba Field Station

While in Keneba, Sir John Savill was also given a tour of the wet labs, physiology labs, data, clinic, rehabilitation centre and facilities which he was also impressed with especially with the work going on. He especially praised ‘all the enthusiastic young scientists who presented so well in the evening elevator talks’ while noting that he could easily appreciate that unique selling points of maintaining field stations embedded within the local communities.

During his visit to our WAGHA partners in Senegal Sir John Savill attended the official launch and unveiling of the new WAGHA logo on Friday 7 April 2017, at the Université Cheikh Anta Diop (UCAD) in Senegal.

The event was attended by Sir John Savill, MRC UK Chief Executive, Ambassadors of Great Britain and The Gambia in Senegal, the Rector of UCAD, The Dean and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, the Directors and senior scientific staff of the three partner institutions (UCAD, MRCG, the Institut de Recherche en Santé, de Surveillance Epidémiologique et de Formation), including Profs Souleymane Mboup, Oumar Gaye, Daouda Ndyae, and Moreau, collaborators and the Senegalese media.