President Barrow hailed the Medical Research Council (MRC), saying their outstanding
performance has boosted the Gambian Health Sector.
The president added that the prevalence of malaria parasite with children under five years of age has decreased from 4 percent to 0.2 percent since 2011.
“We could not have achieved this without the support of MRC through the government of The Gambia. The Gambia will continue to be world class example of what can be achieved through supporting research and through uptake of policy for the government intervention in the reduction of malaria and other diseases,” he said.
The president’s statement was read by Hamat Bah, the minister of Tourism and Culture at the opening ceremony of the 70 anniversary of the MRC Unit-The Gambia which was attended by more than 500 delegates including international scientists, doctors and others relevant stakeholders.
The conference was held from 27-29 November 2017 at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
The president highlighted that the contribution of the Medical Research Council to The Gambia extends well beyond health. MRC is our nation’s second largest employer with more than 1,200 people working for the institution across the nation. MRC field stations in Basse, Keneba, Farafenni and its head office in Fajara have collaborated with our local health centre’s to deliver high quality and impact research.
He said, this has contributed positively to our economy. MRC is also a source of great opportunities for our young people. Through the council, the president said, they can find a career in science or medicine that can enable them to support the government and build stronger Gambia today for our future generations.
“The length of the relationship and mutual cooperation has allowed a body of research work to be established over the years, and this has made tremendous contribution to global health as a whole. But of course, what we have been able to experience directly has been the contribution to our beloved country. The support and input given by MRC scientists and researchers through the years has been immense benefit to all Gambian governments and to the people in general” he concluded.
The minister of Health and Social Welfare Madam Saffie-Lowe also spoke at the meeting, saying MRC Gambia provides support to Gambians medical students from the University of The Gambia through work attachments and bed side teaching that MRC staff offer at Edward Francis Teaching Hospital.
She said, this clearly indicates MRC’s help to lift the Standard of our medical school and encourage MRC to strengthen the programme.
According to the minister, through the work of the MRC, the influence of The Gambia expands throughout West Africa and boosts our standing in the region. “The contribution of this institution to the health of our nation throughout the years is difficult to quantify but we know it has been immense. The research carried out has, without doubt saved the lives of many Gambians and extended the lives of many more,” she said.
Sir John Savill, chief executive officer of the Medical Research Council, U.K., also said that the MRC Gambia Unit will now collaborate with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, a world class institution and a leader in global health which will increase opportunities in the coming decades. “In supporting this union, the government of Gambia has renewed its memorandum of understanding as a strong signal to maintain this mutually beneficial bond.”