WARIMA and WANETAM commence two-week Epidemiology and Biostatistics Course in Dakar

On 11 December 2023, the West African Research and Innovation Management Organisation (WARIMA) in collaboration with WANETAM, MRC Unit The Gambia at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and IRESSEF, commenced a 2-week course on Epidemiology and Biostatistics in Dakar, Senegal. Directed by Professor Safiatou Niaré Doumbo, Professor of Parasitology-Mycology at the Malaria Research and Training Center (MRCT), the course was facilitated by researchers and Biostatisticians from MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM, MRTC – Mali and Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.

Funded by GSK, the intensive introductory course brought together 30 participants from 11 West African Countries, including clinicians, PhD students, postdoctoral researchers and people involved in biomedical research & working in academic, research or health institutions in the sub-region. The training is expected to equip participants with significant epidemiological research tools to optimise disease surveillance, facilitate outbreak investigation and evaluate changes in health policy.

According to Dembo Kanteh, President of WARIMA and Head of Strategic Partnerships at MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM, the course will enhance participants’ research capacities and prepare them to effectively contribute towards addressing challenges posed by poverty-related infectious diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis and HIV and the apparent emerging and re-emerging infections in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to Abdoulaye Cissé, a PhD student at the Hospital Centre University Aristite Le Dantec de Dakar, Senegal, the training will equip him with the capacity to effectively incorporate PCR data into statistical analyses.

“I believe that acquiring skills in both molecular biology and biostatistics will enable me to conduct a more holistic and rigorous investigation into the factors influencing the spread of ESBL-producing E. coli strains in diverse settings” he added.

Joquina Chiquita Jones, a Research Clinician at the MRC Unit The Gambia at LSHTM was one of the participants.

“This training is invaluable in helping me unlock the power to decode the health data I am currently working on, illuminate patterns and sculpt a career dedicated to advancing both patient care and global efforts to safeguard public health” she highlighted.

The training is part of WARIMA and WANETAM’s strides to support technical skills capacity strengthening of research personnel and research groups and institutions in West Africa. Following their training, participants are expected to contribute to increasing the stock of specialised skills needed to support the expansion of clinical research in the sub-region and beyond.