first International Conference on Vaccine and Viruses hosted by the University
of The Gambia was yesterday held at the Paradise Suites Hotel, Kololi.
The Vice Chancellor of UTG, Prof. Faquir Muhammad Angum, who delivered a welcoming remark, acknowledged that the international congress would be a platform to gather and disseminate the latest knowledge on viruses and vaccines.
He said focus would be given to issues that are critical and need urgent intervention. “The initiative for national or regional elimination or global eradication of any disease represent complex efforts that consume vast financial, health services and infrastructural resources and require decades of commitment.”
The Gambia has made giant strides in the area of primary healthcare, he said, adding that it has yielded positive results in the health delivery system.
The Unit Director of MRC, Prof. Umberto D’Alessandro, said “we are in a globalized world and we know how diseases are easily spread.”
He disclosed that they are working to see new weapons that could possibly cure such diseases, citing new diseases that are affecting people in the world, particularly in The Gambia.
For his part, a representative from the Islamic, Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO), Ms Huma Balouch, noted that the persistent and unpredictable nature of tropical disease emergence represents a continual challenge.
Despite significant advances, especially during the past 2 decades, viral pathogens continued to kill several millions of people each year, she said.
Having 25 member states and a network of 21 renowned International Science and Technology Centre of Excellence, COMSATS was committed to develop and strengthen linkages among the scientific institutions of the South for the exchange and sharing of knowledge, technology and resources.
She added that COMSATS has been making strenuous efforts towards the promotion of science, education and capacity-building in its member states. These, she said, include organisation and sponsorship of scientific capacity-building conferences, seminars, workshops and meetings, providing scholarship, short-term trainings, experts exchange and laboratory sharing.
She concluded that COMSATS is dedicated to enhancing the membership of its commission and Network of International S&T Centre of Excellence, in order to accomplish its objective of narrowing down the scientific and technological gap between the countries of the North and South, particularly through South-South cooperation.
Minister of Health, Hon. Saffie Lowe-Ceesay, said that the congress would certainly generate meaningful discussions and would go a long way towards recommending means of preventing diseases.
Hon. Fatoumatta Jallow-Tambajang, Vice-President of The Gambia disclosed that viruses and vaccines and health issues are among the top priorities of the government of The Gambia.
The health sector focuses more on prevention, she said, adding that the private sector should play a leading role in promoting and supporting the government sector.
She said the government could only provide an enabling environment in terms of policies and legislations, as well as prevention and control.