The University of The Gambia (UTG) has launched a Global Environmental and Occupational Health center (GEO Health) at its Science, Technology and Innovation Park in Faraba Banta, Kombo East.
The UTG created the centre in collaboration with the Centre for International Rural and Environmental Health (CIREH), College of Public Health, University of Iowa, in the United States.
The National Institute of Health (NIH) of the United States funds the project, which will last for two years. An amount of US$3.2M has been awarded to more than 15 countries, including The Gambia. The project will include research in occupational and environmental health in West Africa.
The centre at the Faraba Banta Park will be used to conduct research and training to improve the health of the people in the West African sub-region and beyond.
The vice chancellor of the UTG, Professor Muhammadou MO Kah, expressed hope that something valuable will come out of the project at the end of the two-year period. He said it will also help to improve the health and living conditions of the Gambian population.
He told the gathering that the UTG, though a small university, will in the coming months be busy conducting research and training on GEO health. While commending the University of Iowa and the Centre for International Rural and Environmental Health for their support and the National Institute of Health for funding the project, Professor Kah expressed hope that the centre will bring lots of success stories to the UTG and the country.
Professor Thomas Cook, dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa, said the project would focus on research, training and development. He said the implementation of the project would be done in a manner in which institutions will bring resources together.
According to him, the GEO health project is brought to The Gambia due to a clear sub-regional need and UTG's ten years successful collaboration with the University of Iowa.
Dr Rex Quay, head of the Department of Public Health at the UTG, said there is a longstanding relationship between UTG and the University of Iowa. While The Gambia is one of four countries in Africa to be awarded the project, Dr Quay said the success of the project would determine UTG's winning of the 2nd phase of the project, which will last for five years.
Dr Ousman Nyan, the Provost of the School of Medicine and Allied Health Sciences at the UTG, thanked their collaborators for the move.