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MRC holds maiden scientific festival

Jun 22, 2016, 10:55 AM | Article By: Abdoulie Nyockeh

The Gambia unit of Medical Research Council (MRC) on Tuesday held its first annual scientific festival at its campus in Fajara.

The event, held in form of an open day dubbed ‘Science Fair’, brought together young scientists from all the three field stations of MRC Gambia – Fajara, Keneba and Basse – to showcase their scientific talents.

The scientists represented the three research units of MRC: vaccines and immunity, diseases control and elimination, and nutrition.

Pro Umberto D’Alessandro, director of MRC Gambia said the primary objectives of the festival was to engage and strengthen collaboration with The Gambia government and other partners, including the UK government as well as a range of international and local organisations.

The festival sought to build a wider understanding of MRC strategic objectives of saving lives and improving health across the world.It was also staged to build trust in medical research by sharing research findings and interventions with the local and international communities.

The Science Fair also sought to increase awareness, understanding and promote dialogue with the public about the global benefits of medical research and to increase understanding of MRC partners on scientific research.

Pro D’Alessandro said the forum will not only help to build stronger relationship, but also increase awareness and understanding of the benefits of medical research in The Gambia and globally,

He said MRC Gambia does not only carry out high quality research relevant to the health problems of the local population but also communicate and transfer as widely as possible the outcome of such research.

“This is extremely important for building trust in medical research,” he said.“All our research are supported by competitive grants from several organisations such as the Gates Foundation or the EU, and by the core funding we receive from MRC UK.”

The MRC Gambia director said they are investing substantial resources and efforts in training with the hope of building new breed of internationally competitive African scientists.

“We hope this will contribute substantially to the development of African scientists,” Pro D’Alessandro said.

Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology Abubacarr Senghore said MRC continues to demonstrate solidarity, dedication and long term commitment to the improvement of the health system in The Gambia.

He said The Gambia government recognises MRC’s contribution to the fight against diseases such as TB, malaria, meningitis, childhood ailments and a host of other ailments.

“MRC has proven time and time again that medical intervention cannot be achieved in the absence of research,” Dr Senghore said.