TRIBUTE: Gambia Veterinary Medical Association and Gambia Veterinary Council

Friday, September 06, 2019

(Thursday, 5th September 2019 Issue)

Tribute to Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara: First president of the Republic of The Gambia and a pioneer in veterinary medicine

On behalf of The Gambia Veterinary Medical Association and The Gambia Veterinary Council we express our sympathy and deepest condolences to the family of Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara and the people of the Republic of The Gambia. Sir Dawda was the first Gambian to qualify as a Veterinary Surgeon. He pursued his undergraduate studies in Veterinary Medicine at Glasgow University following which he obtained his postgraduate qualifications from the Centre for Tropical Veterinary Medicine (CTVM) at Edinburgh University in 1953. Upon completion of his studies, he returned to The Gambia and was appointed as the first Principal Veterinary Officer (Head of Department) of the Department of Veterinary Services.

Under his direction, Sir Dawda in collaboration with the field staff conducted regular Mass Annual Vaccination Campaigns against Rinderpest (Cattle Plague) and Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia (CBPP) culminating in the eradication of Rinderpest in The Gambia.Due to his diligence and relentless efforts, The Gambia became one of the first countries to successfully eradicate Rinderpest.

Sir Dawda was instrumental in the setting up of The Gambia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA) in 1967 as well as the Commonwealth Veterinary Association in 1968. He was appointed as the first President of the Commonwealth Veterinary Association during the inaugural meeting held in Banjul in 1968. Subsequently, he presided over several Pan Commonwealth Veterinary Association meetings, including those held in Banjul and Harare, Zimbabwe. He was later honoured with the title of Honorary Life Patron, in recognition of his immense contribution to the profession in the Commonwealth. In 1998, Sir Dawda was awarded the honorary title of Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (FRCVS) by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the United Kingdom. In 1989, he was invited to be the give the inaugural George Poppensick lecture by Cornell University as Visiting Professor.

His continued interest in the development of the livestock sub sector for food production and commercialisation was further demonstrated when he as President presided over the setting up  of the Livestock Marketing Board (LMB) and the first National Livestock show in The Gambia in 1991.Sir Dawda, with the help of the Rockefeller Foundation of the United States of America, convinced the international community to establish the International Trypanotolerance Centre (ITC) in The Gambia in 1983 to facilitate research on N’dama Cattle and other trypanotolerant breeds of livestock in West Africa. He played an important role in the evolution of the Centre as the Chairman of its Council. He was also involved in the establishment of the Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) in the face of the serious drought that affected the Sahel region in the late 60’s. resulting in the significant loss of livestock in the sub region. Sir Dawda was a great pioneer who was a trailblaser and true inspiration for the veterinary profession in The Gambia.

Sir Dawda’s interest was not limited to the veterinary profession only. He was a pioneer in natural resources management and his concern about the flora and fauna led to the famous “Banjul Declaration” in 1987.

 As veterinarians we will continue to cherish his legacy and contribution to the development of veterinary services in The Gambia. The members of the Gambia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA) and the Gambia Veterinary Council (GVC) listed below once again express deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and the entire Gambian Nation.

Dr. Badara Loum, Dr. B.N. Touray, Dr. Sulayman Sonko, Dr. Abdou Ceesay, Dr. Almamy Camara, Dr. Assan Jaye, Dr. Bonto Fabureh, Dr. Pa Ousman Ceesay, Dr. Ousman Ceesay, Dr. Momodou Mbake, Dr. Demba Jallow, Dr. Duto S. Fofana, Dr. Adegboye Olutoye, Dr. Arss Secka, Dr. Famara Sanyang, Dr. Sheikh Jarju, Dr Bart Goosen, Dr Wally Ndow