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Directorate of Health Research


About the Directorate of Health Research (DHR)

The MoHSW was given approval to create a research directorate in September 2014 and thus the DIRECTORATE OF HEALTH RESEARCH (DHR); formerly Directorate of Public Health Research (DPHR). Due to unforeseen circumstances the DHR is now relocated from the Central Medical Stores (CMS) and National Public Health Laboratories (NPHL) Complex in Kotu; to the First International Bank (FIB) Building (top floor and opposite the National AIDS Secretariat (NAS) offices) on 2 Kairaba Avenue, Serekunda. The current members of staff of the Directorate and their designations are:


   Phebian Ina Grant-Sagnai, Principal Health Research Officer (Acting Director)

   Sainey Sanneh, Principal Health Research Officer

    Isatou Jatta-Kurubally, Senior Health Research Officer

    Hurai Sey, Senior Research Officers

In order to carry out its operations effectively as per mandated in this Terms of Reference (ToR), the DHR will be headed by a Director, and advised via a special advisory group composed of experienced researchers and health practitioners. The Director will be supported by a Deputy Director, Epidemiologist, Statistician, Principal Health Researchers (PHRs) who will be supported by Senior Health Researchers (SHRs) and Health Research Officers (HROs). The necessary research administrative and support staff will also be recruited by the MoHSW to support operations of the DHR. Attached to this ToR shall be the latest Organogram of the DHR (see the attached organogram).

Undoubtedly, the MoHSW via its established health management information system, epidemiology and disease control programmes under the auspices of the Directorate of Planning and Information and Directorate of Health Services has done reasonably well in the collection and analysis of routine health data. However, given the increasing creation of routine health data resources on infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases, including cancer for instance, further improvements are called for in the collection, analysis, interpretation and reporting of such rich national resource. This require the conduct of special studies in partnership with stakeholders and also require a more effective co-ordination and organisation of our national health research and health research information systems; so as to further generate pertinent knowledge to assist our understanding of disease burden for evidence-informed decision making, policy formulation, health planning and implementation of interventions in the context of The Gambia.

However there are many challenges. These include the challenges of the MoHSW to address matters compounding the health research system in-country due to lack of effective co-ordination and limited capacity of the health staff in health research. Through the DHR, capacity of health staff will be enhanced and also new capacity will be built to ensure fruitful partnerships both nationally and internationally for conducting health research and disseminating research information for action. In that perspective, the DHR is expected to work closely with all Directorates and Programmes within the MoHSW, the sister Ministries in government, the UN system, Medical Research Council the Gambia unit (MRC) and other stakeholders; to identify the priority areas of research and encourage the drawing of proposals to conduct health research that is of more relevance to resolving the health problems of The Gambia.

Terms of Reference


The following are the terms of reference for the DHR.

  1. Develop and strengthen a National Health Research System (NHRS) with the following objectives:-


  • To identify opportunities to build public health knowledge about national disease prevention and control measures, with particular emphasis on opportunities arising from collaborations in health research with local and international research institutions and agencies.


  • To design and strategically conduct appropriate health research studies in collaboration with Directorates, programmes, units and partners of the MoHSW and with academic experts in the field.


  1. Develop and strategically implement a health research policy, strategy, action plan and research agenda for The Gambia in collaboration with stakeholders.


  1. Develop key partnerships to enable the research plans of the MoHSW.


  1. Participate and assume responsibility on behalf of the MoHSW in the planning, designing, conducting and evaluation of health intervention studies in-country.


  1. Supervise and provide guidance to early career health researchers, trainees and other visitors of the MoHSW.


  1. Initiate and strategically undertake collaborative research to attract health research funding from external sources in order to support studies in The Gambia.


  1. Strategically undertake a significant programme of epidemiological research on maternal, newborn, child, adolescents’ and reproductive health; and non-communicable diseases including, but not limited to cancer, diabetes and hypertension in The Gambia.


  1. Publish bulletins and newsletters to facilitate access to evidence-based information at the grassroots level.


  1. Submit abstracts and present health research papers in national and international forums that are or will be supportive to health research in The Gambia.


  1. In collaboration with partners, organise national and international conferences and workshops to enhance dissemination and utilisation for action of health research findings.


  1. Document, monitor and strategically participate in the evaluation of on-going and new collaborative public health studies to ensure visibility of the MoHSW and facilitate access to evidence-based research results for decision making and action.


  1. Prepare, disseminate and archive scientific manuscripts and reviews describing the results of health research in The Gambia and also prepare project-specific technical and progress reports.


  1. Provide project-specific specialised courses/workshops to doctors, nurses, public health officers, health programme managers and other health workers to improve on the provision of the national healthcare services in The Gambia.


  1. Represent the MoHSW in all scientific health research and ethics committees in The Gambia.


  1. Act as the central point for all health research with MoHSW and or its officials.



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