MRC The Gambia Keneba

MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM Keneba is a rural Field Station situated in the Kiang West region of The Gambia, about 2 hours by road from MRC Fajara. It is located in the village of Keneba, the largest village in an area of predominantly subsistence agriculture. MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM has had a presence in the area for nearly 70 years and enjoys an excellent relationship with the local community. Most research activities of the Nutrition Theme are done in Keneba.

The Keneba Clinic (backed by the custom-built Keneba Electronic Medical Register – KEMReS – introduced in 2007) is a vital facility for data collection and study implementation as well as supporting the core platform for the past 40 years. The clinic provides an extensive, outpatient‐based service concentrating on maternal and child health provision and working closely with the local Gambian Government Divisional Health Team. Keneba also runs a supplementary feeding centre for malnourished children. The clinic also supports the local Karantaba Health Centre and the Maternal and Child Health trekking teams that deliver health care directly to the villages.

This intensity of health care has resulted in impressive improvements in mortality rates but a high burden of infectious diseases and under‐nutrition remains. The field station has a strong record in training our Gambian and other West African staff from basic to post‐doctoral levels. Keneba hosts many overseas students and researchers, especially medical elective and MSc students.

The villages of Keneba, Manduar and Kantong‐Kunda have traditionally maintained the closest relationship with the field station and have unique demographic and health databases spanning 65 years. Increasingly our studies and clinical services involve many other villages across West Kiang (supported by the West Kiang DHSS). Keneba maintains advanced laboratory facilities that have recently received a major upgrade.

The Keneba biobank is currently a major user of bench space and facilities in storing residual samples from on‐going and completed studies. We are currently creating a comprehensive biobank of all consenting individuals across West Kiang. Data and samples from 11000+ individuals have been already banked, it is our intention to ‘externalise’ the biobank to make it more readily available to external collaborators in order to maximise the use of the samples in support of our ethics responsibilities.

Keneba also maintains the Bakary Dibba Clinical Physiology Laboratories containing state‐of‐the‐art imaging and test systems for assessing bone density, morphology and architecture, infant and adult body composition. Other advanced imaging systems are used in the BRIGHT and FaCE studies.