The Minister of Health and Social Welfare has remarked that his Ministry and the Medical Research Council, The Gambia over the years have strengthened efforts to address local health priorities.
Dr. Omar Sey make these remarks at the 61st Annual Government/MRCG Joint Committee meeting to discuss research activities in The Gambia held at MRC Unit, The Gambia, in Fajara.
The meeting is a platform for MRCG and the government to provide updates and discuss currently ongoing and future activities. During the meeting, MRCG provides updates on the new scientific focus, under the three themes, namely vaccines and immunity, nutrition, and disease control & elimination. Researchers at MRCG informed the implementation of public health interventions that have had (and continue to have) a major impact on childhood mortality and morbidity, not only in The Gambia but also in other sub-Saharan African countries.
Minister Sey noted that the objective of both The Gambia government and the MRC is to improve the health of the local population. This, he added would be done with the Ministry of Health implementing health interventions and providing healthcare, and the MRC generating new knowledge that can be used by the Ministry to adapt/improve health policies.
He said the strong collaboration currently ongoing between the Ministry of Health and the MRC Unit, The Gambia is essential as medical research should answer local health priorities and results should be shared and discussed together.
“Besides research activities carried out jointly, senior scientific staff of the MRC Unit, The Gambia provides technical expertise to several disease-specific national committee/programmes at the Ministry of Health,” Minister Sey asserted.
He hailed the Unit’s support towards the transformation and development of the Basse Health Centre which is now a major hospital and the continued support to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital.
Speaking earlier, the Unit Director of MRCG, Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, said The Gambia government is an essential partner of MRC, noting that their research wouldn’t be possible without a noble and transparent dialogue between the two institutions.
He added that the aim of both institutions is to improve the health of the local population. “It is our intention indeed that the result of our research should make a major contribution to the fight against diseases that are endangering sub-Saharan Africa,” he added.
Beside research, Professor D’Alessandro informed that MRC provides high quality training such as short courses, internship or higher education learning like Msc or Phd to young Gambians and African scientists.
“We also provide technical assistance to the Ministry of Health on different disease control and health related problems. I like people to realise that in MRC there is a concentration of technical expertise that I will not say is unique in West Africa but is probably one of the largest in West Africa,” he concluded.
by Samba Jawo