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E-E-E-E-combating disease in

combating disease in

combating disease in

combating disease in

sub-Saharan Africa

sub-Saharan Africa

sub-Saharan Africa

sub-Saharan Africa

This article describes how The Medical

Research Council developed a bespoke

e-learning curriculum for frontline

workers at the research unit in The

Gambia (MRCG) involved in combating

disease in West Africa.

This project took Bronze at the 2017

Learning Technologies Awards for Best

Learning Technologies Project -

International Public & Non-profit Sector.

The Challenge

The Medical Research Council (MRC) is a

national funding agency, part of UK Research

and Innovation, and for over one hundred

years it has been dedicated to improving

human health. Today, the organisation

supports research across the entire spectrum

of medical sciences, in universities and

hospitals, in MRC units, centres and institutes.

Their work ranges from laboratory research

on genes and molecules, right through to

research with people, such as clinical trials

and population studies.

This case study will focus upon the Medical

Research Council's research unit in The

Gambia (MRCG), now part of the London

School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The goal of the MRCG is the eradication of

disease in the West African country of The

Gambia through a scientific program of

disease control, vaccinations and nutrition

interventions. In this small country of 1.9

million people, many diseases exist, such as

Malaria, Hepatitis A and Typhoid fever,

mainly due to a lack of access to proper

healthcare and certain preventative vaccines,

proper sanitation and the ability to provide

adequate treatment.

Health and demographic research in subSaharan Africa relies on local fieldworkers

who are recruited by research organisations

and given classroom training. These

fieldworkers gain the consent of local

communities to gather samples and data,

provide health promotion and education, and

are the public "face" of health research in the

region. MRCG employs approximately 1,200

staff of which 300 are fieldworkers.

Without this important role being played,

essential data would be unavailable for

research into scientific solutions surrounding

malnutrition and disease.

Prior to 2012, fieldworkers at MRCG were

recruited from local communities with a

secondary-school level of education and

trained in fieldwork skills by attending a 12-

week classroom-based training course.

Running these training courses were not only


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