May 7, 2020, 12:31 PM
Many Gambian Public Health Officers got their professional public health foundation through Alhagie Dawda Jagne. He taught his subjects with passion and left an indelible mark of dedication, honesty and professionalism onto all his students at the School of Public Health.
Alhagie Dawda Jagne could be remembered for the role he played in the growth and development of The Gambia School of Public Health then located at Marina Parade in Banjul. He was a full-time lecturer and administrator and during the school holidays (between school terms) he would serve as a Senior Public Health Superintendent at the Health Department. Alhagie Jagne demonstrated great ability in public health administration and magnificent teaching skills at the School of Public Health. As a lecturer he was very observant when students showed signs of tiredness and lost concentration. In such occasions, Mr. Jagne would lace his lectures with short stories that made students burst into laughter and regain concentration, Mr. Jagne was never short of stories like: ‘SafaraningMarwa; ‘JerrehSeenyal’. Under the tutorship of Mr. Jagne, students were prepared for a higher level to be enrolled straight for a Master’s degree. Those students of Mr. Jagne never felt intimidated by being in the same class or sitting with other scientists including Medical doctors. These professionals would instead rely and consult with his students for advice and clarity on the subject matter of Public Health. He honorably narrated and passed on the works of the energetic Late Mamur Secka, another forefather of Gambia Public Health Officers.
Dawda Jagne’s teaching skills included understanding and identifying students’ potential specialty. Together with Pierre S. W. ShyngleTim A would provide the theoretical aspect whilst Mr. Shyngle dove tail these with appropriate practical experience. The duo developed the formalized training at the SPH from single classes in the sixties to double classes in the seventies and transition into the Gambia College in the early eighties. Tim loved teaching Public Health History, Health Ethics and Morals, Building Science and Technology, Water Supply, Meat and Other Foods of which he would cover in great depth. The training of Public Health Students involved constant engagement of many more relevant professionals including: Nursing Sisters, Laboratory Scientists, Agricultural Scientists, Architects and Medical Doctors. The external lecturers he would bring to teach his students were of high caliber. The School of Public Health students were given a wide range of knowledge and practical experiences, ‘Jack of All Trades and Master of All’.With him as the School Principal the first female Public Health Officers were trained and graduated in 1974. He arranged Joint work with international institutions in research namely the International Development Research Center of Ottawa Canada. He forged relationship with Danish Colleges resulting to periodical student exchange visits. He also believed in the vision ‘Health for All by the year 2020’
Alhagie Dawda Jagne understood and practiced the dynamics of interfaith harmony and was accorded honor in some Christian ceremonies. Alhagie Tim A was an excellent cricketer and a dependable batsman in the Gambian team. He played memorable matches against Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Ghana. He was the enthusiastic batsman that aroused cheers and tremendous uproar from spectators as he swings the bat and makes his fantastic runs.
Tim A’s hobbies included supervising building construction, photography and poultry farming, On Thursday 5th August 2021, at Baltimore Hospital Maryland USA, Alhagie Dawda. Jagne passed into glory in the presence of his wife, Ndey Mariama Jobe and the children. I and all ex-students of the School of Public Health extend our condolences to the Jagne family.
People who worked with him had this to say; “He was great, kind and gentle”, “He taught us how to be polite and cautious in everyday dialogues”.