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Directorate of Public Health Research (DPHR)

 

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoH&SW) created the DPHR in September 2014 with responsibility to conduct research for health and also coordinate the governance and management of public health research in The Gambia. The Directorate is currently located at the Central Medical Stores and National Public Health Laboratories complex in Kotu. It is being organised into Programmes and Units to enable the diligent execution of its Terms of Reference (please see our TOR). The current members of staff of the Directorate and their designations are:

  • Ebrima Bah, Director of Public Health Research
  • Fatou-Gaye-Jatta, Principal Public Health Research Officer
  • Sainey Sanneh, Principal Public Health Research Officer
  • Isatou Jatta-Kurubally, Senior Public Health Research Officer

More staff will be recruited as efforts are on-going to search and assemble the “critical mass” of expertise, partnerships and infrastructure for optimal performance of the Directorate. To that effect the Directorate is also forging new partnerships nationally and internationally.  Partnerships are beginning to be established with the UNFPA who recently donated the directorate with 3 computers.

 

The MoH&SW through an established Health Management Information System (HMIS), under the Directorate of Planning and Information (DPI) has been doing reasonably well in collection of routine health data, using a structured and automated system.  Nevertheless, the linkage, analysis, interpretation and reporting of such data for evidence-based health policy and planning, needs further improvement.  Among the challenges of the MoH&SW to address matters compounding public health research in the country is lack of co-ordination and limited capacity in conducting such research. It is hoped that these challenges can be addressed, via new impetus at DPHR, in terms of enhancing the research capacity of staff, developing and maintaining fruitful partnerships nationally and internationally to ensure effective conduct, dissemination and communication of public health research findings for action. Therefore the Directorate will work closely with all Directorates and programmes within the MoH&SW, sister ministries (particularly, Directorate of Research, Ministry of Higher Education, Science and Technology (MoHERST)), the UN system, Medical Research Council Laboratories of the United Kingdom in The Gambia (MRC Unit The Gambia) and other partners; to set the country’s national 'priorities for research for health' and draw proposals which will attract funding for implementation of the most urgent research for the country to achieve better quality healthcare and public health.

 

Responsibilities 

  • Develop a research program with the following objectives:
  • To identify opportunities to build public health knowledge about national, regional and international disease prevention and control measures, with particular emphasis on opportunities arising from collaborations in public health research with local and international research institutions and agencies.
  • To design and conduct appropriate public health research studies in collaboration with Directorates, programmes, units and partners of the MoH&SW and with academic experts in the field.
  • Develop a public health research strategy for The Gambia;
  • Develop key partnerships to enable the research plans of the MoH&SW;
  • Participate and assume responsibility on behalf of the MoH&SW in the planning, designing, conducting and evaluation of health intervention studies in-country
  • Supervise and provide guidance to early career public health researchers, trainees and other visitors of the MoH&SW;
  • Initiate and undertake collaborative research to attract public health research funding from external sources in order to support studies
  • Undertake a significant programme of epidemiological research on Maternal and Reproductive Health, cancer and other non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension in The Gambia.
  • Publish bulletins and newsletters to facilitate access to evidence-based information at the grassroots level.
  • Submit abstracts and present public health research papers in national and international forums that are of relevance.
  • In collaboration with partners, organise national and international conferences to enhance dissemination and action of public health research findings.
  • Document, monitor and participate in the evaluation of on-going and new collaborative public health studies to ensure visibility of the MoH&SW and facilitate access to evidence-based research results for decision making and action.
  • Prepare, disseminate and archive scientific manuscripts and reviews describing the results of public health research in The Gambia and also prepare project-specific technical and progress reports.
  • Provide project-specific specialised courses/workshops to doctors, nurses, public health officers, health programme managers and other health workers to improve on the provision of the national healthcare services in The Gambia.
  • Represent the Ministry in all relevant Public Health scientific research committees in The Gambia.
  • Act as the central point for all public health research with MoH&SW and or its officials.

 

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