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Basse and Wali Kunda

MRC The Gambia shelter in Basse

MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM Basse Field Station is located in the Upper River Region (URR) in the eastern part of The Gambia about 350 km from Banjul. The Field Station was established in 1982 and in the past few years its facilities have been upgraded to accommodate large‐scale trials/studies, such as Pneumococcal Vaccine Trial, Meningitis Vaccine Project, Pneumococcal Surveillance Project, Global Enteric Multi-centre Study and Vaccine Impact on Diarrhoea in Africa, and the trial on the efficacy of single low dose of primaquine in malaria asymptomatic carriers.

Basse has a long history of cordial collaboration with the Department of State for Health, the Regional Health Team, local government authorities and Basse District Hospital and has implemented research interventions targeting grass root communities through primary health care facilities in the region. Over the past quinquennium, Basse has hosted several large scale studies initiated by the Disease Control & Elimination Theme, most of which were supported by external grants.

Basse Field Station currently employs about 264 staff, most of them (85%) on externally‐funded projects. It has excellent laboratory facilities for microbiology, immunology, molecular biology and tissue culture and also has capacity for temporary storage of biological samples in ‐70°C and ‐20°C freezers before transferring them to Fajara (main site) for long term storage. The Field Station has a well structured and maintained insectary with a susceptible colony of Anopheles gambiae s.s.

It is possible to conduct transmission and transmission blocking research by direct membrane feeding experiments measuring human infectiousness to mosquitoes. In addition, wild caught mosquitoes and larvae are reared for the determination of local insecticide resistance profiles. The station has a well-established Health & Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) and is well placed to provide excellent opportunities for training in clinical trials, epidemiology, entomology, data handling, fieldwork and project management.

Walikunda Field Site, located in CRR (Central River Region) 120km from Basse, is directly managed from Basse. The field site functions as a centre for studying mosquito behaviour and ecology. Its central location serves as a hub for malaria and entomological research carried out by the Disease Control & Elimination Theme. There is a fully functioning insectary in Walikunda with a colony of dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) susceptible strain of Anopheles gambiae s.s. The facilities at the field site have been recently upgraded to include a new laboratory, solar-powered borehole and a new 4 bed-sitter accommodation block with wireless internet and satellite TV. The perimeter fencing has also been replaced and reinforced with wire-mesh chain link fencing to further improve security at the site.