Legislators endorse report on health, women

Friday, September 07, 2018

Deputies on Thursday adopted the report on Select Committee on Health, Women, Children, Disaster, Humanitarian Relief and Refugees. The report was tabled by Hon. Ousman Sillah, chairman of the Select committee and member for Banjul North and was witnessed by the minister of Health and her team.

Hon. Ousman Sillah said the committee is a statutory committee set up in accordance with Section 102 (a) and 109 (e) of the 1997 Constitution and Standing Order No. 85. He said one of its key oversight roles is to review how effectively the health sector is delivering health services in The Gambia.

“The Gambia National Health Sector Strategic Plan (NHSSP) 2014-2020 provides the sector with the medium term focus, objectives and priorities to enable it move towards the attainment of The Gambia’s health policy direction.”

In the 2017 financial year, the National Assembly approved the allocation of D794,867,000.00 in the national budget for the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW), Hon. Sillah explained, adding that the main objective of this legislative oversight function is to ensure that resources are being spent and used properly in accordance with budget appropriations and that performance targets are met with results achieved in line with National Health Policy 2012-2020 and the National Health Service Strategic Plan (NHSSP 2014-2020)

Hon. Sillah went further to informe deputies that the committee originally planned to review the health sector over a period of 14 days. However, this plan changed because funds were not received on time to continue with the tour to rural areas and members of the committee were unavailable because of a series of interventing training activities for the National Assembly members organised by the National Assembly Service.

“The Select Committee is concern about growing public fears about the quality of care currently being offered to the population. The Committee perceives the Board of Health as envisaged in the National Health Policy, 2012-2020 as a critical step towards improving the quality of health care.

On the issue of maternal mortality, Hon. Sillah acknowledged that the data that MoHSW provided and reported maternal deaths is worrisome as there was no appreciable decline in the reported number maternal deaths between 2014 and 2017. “It is of concern that nearly three quarters of all maternal deaths occur in just three regions- Central River Region, Upper River Region and Western Region.”

Hon. Samba Jallow, minority leader and member for Niamina Dankunku, said the select committee on Health has done well in their report and thanked the minister and her team for attending the tabling of the report.

Author: Njie Baldeh