By Olimatou Coker
The Bright Project, a project operating under the Medical Research Council Unit The Gambia recently held its Open Field Day at the MRCG Unit centre in Kiang Keneba in the Lower River Region.
The day-long field day was meant to bring parents and researchers together to talk about various topics in relation to infants’ brain development.
Participants at the Field Day were drawn from Kiang Keneba and its surrounding villages and they were divided into 4 groups and exposed to different topics all geared towards helping the development of infants.
Bright Project is a multi-disciplinary study led by researchers from MRC Unit The Gambia, University College London, Birkbeck, University of London, Kings College London and Cambridge University Hospitals respectively.
The aim of the project is to understand early brain development by studying a cohort and also recruiting mothers and as well assessed them during pregnancy.
Speaking at the field day Madam Laura Kischkel from the Bright Project said that the project recruited 200 infants in Kiang Keneba, and 60 infants recruited in Cambridge England.
According to madam Kischkel mothers are recruited and assessed in pregnancy, while infants are assessed at regular interval between birth and their 2nd birthday.
She said the assessment includes functional brain imaging tasks, eye tracking, behaviors, tasks, questionnaires, anthropometric measurements and biological samples, in order to comprehensively measure infant development.
She assured that they will be holding several workshops in order to offer parents of Kiang Keneba the chance to creatively explore how babies use their brain during daily tasks, how they learn to see the world and how stressors related to being a parent can be addressed.
Also speaking, Tijan Fadera described the forum as very vital, noting this can help influence mothers living impact of indirect attitude living with their children.
“It is also important to them at their time of antenatal care as they are sometimes called here in the center to give some counseling in a better language that they can understand, because these are some of issues that are part of complications during pregnancy,” she added.
For his part Ansumana Bajo said the field day is organized to showcase their work and also to educate parents of the infants as they are trying to send messages on how infants’ brains develop and how to take care of them.
He challenged the parents to take the field day seriously and take proper care of their young ones.
Mahammed Y. Ceesay, a field worker said the project which is 1-year-old plus targets infants from one moth to 2years old and it is about doing imaging for global health, to see how infants grow in term of brain development.