The mission of the Department of Public and Environmental Health is to prepare an outstanding and innovative public health workforce and scientists that will be capable of protecting and promoting the health of the populations in the Gambia, the sub- region and beyond. Through rigorous research, we seek to advance public health science and policy; and work collaboratively with other institutions to dentify and proffer solutions to public health challenges in the Gambia and among global populations.
Summary of Accomplishments
In partnership with the University of Iowa, the department was able to secure a 2 (two) year initial funding grant from the US National Institutes of Health through the Fogarty Centre; USA. This initial funding is for conducting a needs and opportunities assessment and other exploratory activities to plan for the development of a West African multi-disciplinary Hub for Global Environmental and Occupational Health (GEOHealth) for ECOWAS member countries in the West African Sub-region. It is envisaged that this Centre will meet the needs for research, research training and curriculum development in environmental and occupational health in the West African sub-region.
The department continue to actively pursue growth and achievement during the academic year under review. Among various activities that were successfully implemented are:
In October 2012, the department of Public and Environmental Health in collaboration with the Universities of Iowa and Illinois Springfield, USA launched two master's' degree programs in Public Health-.Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Promotion and Development; and Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Environmental and Occupational Health. These are first of their kind in public health at the UTG. The courses commenced in October 2012 and lectures were delivered with the help of adjunct lecturers from the University of Iowa and the
University of Kentucky.
a) MPH/MSPH programs-
In October 2012, the department of Public and Environmental Health in collaboration with the Universities of Iowa and Illinois Springfield, USA launched two master's' degree programs in Public Health-.Master of Public Health (MPH) in Health Promotion and Development; and Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) in Environmental and Occupational Health. These are first of their kind in public health at the UTG.
The courses commenced in October 2012 and lectures were delivered with the help of adjunct lecturers from the University of Iowa and the University of Kentucky.
b) WHO Visiting delegates-
In November 2012, a two man delegation from WHO Africa visited the Gambia. Their visit coincided with the founding of the new Directorate of Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. The two stopped by the UTG Department of Public and Environmental Health to assess the training programmes related to health education and Dr. Rex Kuye, Head of Department
2013 - 2014 Academic Year
promotion and discussed strategies for tailoring
the curriculum specifically for health education
and promotion in the Higher National Diploma
(HND) programme. Among other things
discussed were areas for collaboration and
partnership, research and research training with
the University of Limpopo in South Africa.
c) Seminars & Public LecturesIn the academic year under review, the
department invited various personalities to
deliver one-hour weekly seminars/public
lectures to the MPH/MSPH students. The
lectures were also attended by students and
faculty of other departments at UTG. One of the
most outstanding lectures delivered was on
“Food production, Public health and the
Environment, (Focus on Human Health and
Agricultural Toxicology)” by Prof. Lawrence
Fuortes of the University of Iowa; and was
attended by senior management from UTG and
health professionals from the Ministry of Health
and Social Welfare.
d) The MHIRT ProgramThe MHIRT program in The Gambia continues to
attract a greater number of students than
Romania, Peru and Tanzania. On the 26th
January 2013, Kristina Venzke (Associate
Director CIREH and Coordinator, MHIRT
program, UI) visited the Gambia to assess the
opportunities and challenges of the program and
evaluate students' lodging and new internship
sites. She also shared previous students'
program evaluation reports with staff and
faculty. Based on her report, strategies for the
improvement of the MHIRT program were
formulated and a follow-up visit by Prof.
Lawrence Fuortes is scheduled for June 7th,
2013, in order to further assess the program.
e) The GEOHealth CentreTwo (2) members of faculty from the University
of Iowa Dr. Thomas Cook (Professor of
Occupational and Environmental Health and
Director of CIREH) and Dr. Lawrence Fuortes
(Professor of Internal Medicine and Director of
Club Foot Project) joined Kristina Venzke to
witness the launching of the GEOHealth project
and the formal opening of the GEOHealth Centre
on the 5th February 2013 at the UTG Science
Technology and Innovation Park, Faraba. The
National Institute of Health (NIH) of the United
States of America, through the Fogarty Centre,
funds the project. The first phase of the project
will last for two years, and winning the second
phase depends on the success of this phase.
The project will include research in occupational
and environmental health in West Africa.
The visiting faculty from Iowa were able to meet
and discuss with senior staff of the Ministry of
Health and Social Welfare, CIAM and NEA.
f) UTG visit to Drexel
A 6 (six) member delegation from the UTG led by
the Vice Chancellor, Professor Muhammadou
M.O Kah travelled to Drexel University in the
United States on the 5th April 2013 for the
signing ceremony of a Memorandum of
Understanding between the two institutions.
Among the constructs of the MOU, are
Faculty/Staff and student exchanges,
collaborative research, joint course/programme
delivery, internships, short-term staff
development, online course delivery and
g) Ongoing Researches/projects
In collaboration with the University of Iowa Injury
Centre, the department hopes to conduct an
injury study at Serrekunda Hospital and Edward
Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) on
“Epidemiology of Injuries Reporting to
Serrekunda Hospital and Edward Francis Small
Teaching Hospital” starting July this year. This is
a prospective study on the epidemiology of the
various types of injuries that are reported to
Serrekunda Hospital and EFSTH in order to
2013 - 2014 Academic Year
establish a trauma registry in all major hospitals
in The Gambia.
UTG, Department of Public and Environmental
Health, in collaboration with UI, Department of
occupational and Environmental health, is to
conduct an investigation on the effects of
pesticides on human health starting this
summer. Unlike previous studies on pesticides
in the Gambia, the research wants to reveal the
effects of pesticides on the cognitive ability of
users. The principal Investigator is Jamie Butler
Dawson and co-investigators are Dr. Rex A. Kuye
and Edrisa Sanyang.
An MOU was successfully singed with
Drexel University and follow-up to the
introduction of Global health program can now
The GEOHealth project was successfully
launched and the Centre now opens for
research. The implementation of activities for
the first phase of the project has started and is
bearing fruits. The Principal Investigator and the
Coordinator of the project have already visited
three African countries and by the end of June
2013 will visit more.
The four-year “direct” BSc program in
Public and Environmental Health has started and
the MPH and MSPH programmes in public
health were launched in October 2013. The first
cohort of students are currently pursuing their
courses of study.