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MRCG at LSHTM Launches Insectary Facility to Advance Malaria Research in The Gambia and the Sub-region.

The Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (MRCG at LSHTM) officially inaugurated its state-of-the-art insectary facility in Fajara, marking a significant milestone in the fight against insect–borne diseases including malaria in Africa.
A man wearing a white lab coat in an insectary at MRC Fajara, The Gambia.

The newly established facility strengthens our research capabilities to better understand how insects threaten our health and to tailor interventions to mitigate their threat in The Gambia and the Sub-region. Currently, MRCG operates three insectaries for rearing mosquitoes, strategically located in Walikunda, Basse, and now Fajara. These insectaries play a pivotal role in supporting research on malaria parasites and vector populations, their interactions, and control interventions.

This latest-generation insectary has the capacity to produce over 20,000 female mosquitoes monthly, a feat in the African Sub-region. Its establishment addresses the critical need for standardised insectary facilities to ensure the accuracy and reliability of research outcomes.

Dr. Mamadou Ousmane Ndiath, Vector Biology and Malaria Laboratory Facility Manager, MRCG: said, "This insectary is more than just a research facility; it is a laboratory of education outreach. Through innovative design and state-of-the-art facilities, we aim to nurture a deeper understanding of mosquitoes' pivotal role in tropical diseases among aspiring African malaria researchers through training, workshops, and seminars."

The inauguration of the new facility signifies a significant leap forward in MRCG’s collective efforts to combat malaria in Africa. It is expected to open doors to new research opportunities, attract funding for testing novel drugs and vaccines, and bring us closer to the goal of malaria elimination.

Speaking on behalf of the Assistant Program Manager at the National Malaria Control Program at the Ministry of Health, Mr. Alfusainey Manneh, Principal Nursing Officer stated: “The establishment of this state-of-the-art facility will enable our team of dedicated researchers to study insect-borne diseases more effectively and develop new strategies for prevention and control. Insects play a crucial role in the transmission of various diseases, and by studying their biology and behavior, we can better understand how to combat the threat to public health.”

He added; “we at the National Malaria Control Program will join hands with MRCG to continue to push the boundaries of knowledge and strive for excellence in all our endeavors.”

The launch of the new facility coincided with the arrival of the Co-Directors of the LSHTM Malaria Centre, who embarked on a three-day visit to MRCG. The visit was designed to promote familiarity, showcasing MRCG research facilities, strengthen collaboration, and create opportunities to engage with various malaria research groups within MRCG.  

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