Thank you for being with us for over 60 years

Thursday, December 07, 2017

The remarkable improvement that the Medical Research Council (MRC) has made in our health sector deserves commendation.

From research to treatment, the work of this British medical institution has hugely been felt across the country – from Fajara to Kiang and from Badibou to Basse. The institution has established firmly and effectively and puts itself in the center stage of Gambia’s Health Sector with cheap accessibility to heath service.

President Barrow was right when he hailed the Medical Research Council (MRC), for their outstanding performance which has actually boosted The Gambia’s Health Sector.

It is the work of the MRC in our health sector that the president has acknowledged the vitality of health research. “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.”

The president was trying to use words to lavish praise on the achievement of the MRC over what has made in health research, but words were not too strong enough to qualify the achievements registered by this institution through research. Their work should serve as an inspiration to the new the government to come up with research centers not just within health but other sector so as to make research a pillar of our development strides.

The president paid a glowing tribute to the MRC for its efforts in reducing malaria in this country, saying 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,” he acknowledged.

The achievement shows the value of research for any nation, be it health or whatever sector. This notion has been given weight by Juan Enriquez, when he said that: “The strength of a nation can be measured by the amount of energy invested in research.”

It’s not a fantasy to suggest that research could be the nucleus of any development aspiration of any country. The new government must understand that so long we continue not to have a single research centre for the development of the wellbeing our citizens, no matter what amount of money we invest, it will never be based on any empirical findings in our development circle.      

If the president has recognised that the contribution of the Medical Research Council to The Gambia extends well beyond health, would the government think of devising measures to start investing hugely in research. Could we only continue to praise the work of NGOs in the field of research? Could we just say, look, let’s continue to develop without giving due attention to research.

If we continue thinking from that point of view, we will never involve in serious research and would continue to measure things based on our own imagination and we will never reach there. Research improves the economy and creates a framework or a template for development; it also creates employment opportunities.

As the president himself puts it: “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 impactful research.”

“Well done is better than well said.”

Benjamin Franklin