By Alhagie Jobe
Dr Ebrahim Malick Samba, former Regional Director, World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Regional Office (1995-2005) died Thursday, July 28th, 2016 at the age of 84. Dr Samba died at the Edward Francise Small Teaching Hospital on Wednesday night. Funeral prayers were held Thursday at the King Fahad Mosque in Banjul before been laid to rest at the Jeshwang Cemetery.
Born on December 27th 1932 in Banjul, Dr. Samba, a Gambian public health specialist served ten years as WHO Regional Director for Africa and went on retirement. He was replaced by Angolan Dr Luis Gomes Sambo.
Until his demise, Dr Samba was the Chairman of the Banjul Muslim Elders Committee. He was also the chairman of the Board of Governors of the Gambia Muslim Association (GMA) under which desire the Gambia Muslim Senior Secondary School was founded. He was made the Honorary life Chairman of the Board of Governors of the school.
Dr Samba was trained in Ghana, Ireland, Scotland, Germany and United States – University of Munich & Saarbrucken, Germany, 1954-1959, State Exam in Law & Diploma European Studies; University of Paris l, 1959-1960, Dr Public International Law; McGill University, 1960-1961, Master of Laws; University of California at Berkeley, United States of America, 1961-1962, Research Fellow in Law.
As a clinician and a public health practitioner, he gained international recognition for the innovations he initiated in public health programmes and interventions. In 1980, Dr Samba became the Director of the Onchocerciasis Control Programme (OCP) in West Africa, a position he hheld until 1994. Under his guidance, the OCP became the showpiece of the World Health Organisation, its donors and other beneficiary countries.
In 1995, Dr Sambia was elected the Regional Director of the World Health Organisation Africa Regional Office (AFRO), and made responsible for developing a policy framework to combat disease throughout the continent. He was re-elected in September 1999 and served in the post until 2005 when he retired.