Gambia hosts cross border simulation exercise

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

The Gambia Red Cross Society with support from the International Committee of the Red Cross hosted the annual cross border simulation between The Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau national societies.

The cross border simulation was organised to assess the preparedness and response readiness capacity of the national society, testing the countries’ capacity in responding to emergencies or any unforeseen situations.

This time, the Gambia Red Cross hosted the activity in Kerr Ayip in North Bank Region, on Friday 29 December 2017.

Ebrima Dampha, Governor of North Bank Region said the simulation was a success.

Hon. Dampha added that the Government’s political will was there but noted that there are capacity gaps from Government that need to be tackled.

He cited the simulation of the Ebola case, and asked what the state of readiness was when Farafenni General Hospital does not have an Ebola Isolation Center.

He urged Government to work on establishing an Ebola Isolation Center at central level.

“Farafenni General Hospital has no Isolation Center given the proximity to the border with Senegal,” he observed, adding that the manpower at the hospital is not effectively and adequately trained to handle emergencies of such nature.

The first point of call for any sickness is the hospitals and staff needs to be adequately trained and prepared to provide first aid for any case, particularly Ebola, he went on.

He also pointed out lapses by the Immigration where only one officer was taking everybody’s details including a madman thus putting the officer under undue pressure.

He however expressed delight with the collaboration and participation of the sister countries as well as everyone that contributed in one way or the other in making the simulation a success.

Buba Darboe, Acting Secretary General and head of disaster management at the Gambia Red Cross Society, said he was impressed with the simulation exercise.

Mr Darboe observed the lack of awareness even within Red Cross volunteers, saying the simulation was not on an armed conflict but rather a population movement.

He added that their Immigration posts still use manual form of data entry which needs to be improved as they are in the twenty-first century and a global world where everything needs to be digitalized.

He thanked all partners that participated in the simulation exercise, volunteers as well as their partners.

The CEO of Farafenni General Hospital, Wandipha Samateh, highlighted that the simulation for Ebola requires a multi-stakeholder approach, adding that the simulation showed both positive and negative gaps that need to be addressed.

Author: Cherno Omar Bobb