By Lamin Fatty in URR

The Medical Research Council (MRC) has recently launched the 2016-2021Quinquennial, a 5 year strategic plan, at a ceremony Prof. Umberto d’Allesandro, Unit Directorheld at the Basse MRC field station in the Upper River Region (URR).

The ceremony was well attended by officials including the deputy governor of URR, senior scientists and staff of MRC, representatives from the Regional Health Team (RHT) and Basse Health Centre, TAC members and the media. 

In his remarks, Professor Umberto D’Alessandro, the Unit director of MRC Gambia, welcomed the gathering on what he described as an important launching.

He highlighted that MRC Gambia’s scientific vision is to contribute to the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda by producing evidence based research to improve health in West Africa and beyond.

According to MRC Director, his unit will specifically contribute to the control and elimination of infectious diseases of public health importance in West Africa and sub- Saharan Africa, address the unacceptably high burden of maternal and neonatal mortality, design and implement next generation interventions against nutrition-related diseases through discovery science and more importantly strengthen research on non-communicable diseases, particularly on those associated with infections.

Prof. D’Alessandro finally stressed that the main business of MRC as a research institution is to contribute to the production of knowledge and complement the efforts of the Gambia Government and the ministry of health to fight against the diseases and reducing the burden of diseases.

The head of operations in MRC Gambia Basse station, Mr. Pa Cheboh Saine said the day is an important and unique one for the MRC Basse field station as it is the first time in the history of MRC for a Unit Plan, the MRC QQ to be launched in a field station and Basse, in particular.

Mr. Saine said QQ was launched in Fajara but launching it in Basse gives the region and staff a sense of belonging, appreciation, recognition and inclusion. He noted that Fajara represents MRC but said there are things that need to be brought down to the field stations level, the base and the grassroots as well as the anchor providing diversity to much of MRCs activities.

He thanked the partners at the regional health directorate, OIC and staff at Basse health centre, the media and the people of URR for their continuous partnership and collaboration, noting that MRC can only do its work effectively and efficiently with their support.

In his closing remarks, Alhagie Cherno Bara Touray, the deputy governor of URR, speaking on behalf of URR governor, said the Gambia Government has realised and appreciated the immense contributions MRC is doing in improving the health of the Gambian population. He said the Unit is saving lives and nurturing human resources that can develop the nation. He thanked MRC through the Gambia Government for their support and challenged them to continue the good work.

The launching was characterised by presentations of success stories by Dr. Grant Mackenzie, I for PSP Pneumococcal surveillance study, GEMS/VIDA by Dr. Jahangirr Hossain, PI, SANTE/rooPfs Dr.Magaret Pinda PI, Malari Sence success story by Dr.Jane Achan, coordinator and BHDSS success story by Mamadi Sidibeh, a field coordinator on behalf of Dr.Momodou Jassey, and a presentation of a video on MRC.