secretary of the Embassy of Japan to The Gambia and the director of Hands On
Care (HOC); a charitable organisation focusing on sexual and reproductive needs
of communities, yesterday led the signing of a 70, 964 Euros –4, 001, 659.96
dalasis for the construction of HOC medical clinic in Brikama.
Funded by the Japanese government through its Grant Assistant for Grass-Roots Human Security Projects (GGP), the project targets to secure improved medical environment and service to the local people in Brikama and the surroundings. It will provide services to the poor and people suffering from HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension and asthma, among others.
In January last year, West Coast Region AIDS committee’s fourth and final quarterly meeting of 2017 revealed that 21, 000 people are currently living with HIV and AIDS in The Gambia of which 7,000 are on treatment, leaving a good number of people living with the global health threatening infection without treatment.
Japanese Embassy’s second secretary Daisuke Enomoto said the government of Japan has a long-standing contribution to address global health challenges by mobilising expertise, taking actions and helping to achieve tangible results.
He said his government decided to finance the project because it is aware of the difficulties faced by the population of Brikama and the surroundings to having access to health care. “Japan supports strongly developing countries in collaboration with the international community to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). At the UHC forum in Tokyo in December, 2017, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to support health care services in developing countries through a USD2.9 billion funding,” he said.
Mr. Enomoto said presently, with the grant for the construction of the HOC medical clinic, his government has moved forward the process of attaining health care for all.
In January 2007, Gambia’s former President Yahya Jammeh claimed he found a cure for HIV/Aids and asthma with natural herbs. He later opened a treatment center and patients were advised to cease taking their anti-retroviral drugs.
Despite concerns by the World Health Organisation and the United Nations about his use of unscientific treatment that could have dangerous results, including the infection of others by those who thought they had been cured by the method, Mr. Jammeh continued with his treatment programme until he was defeated in last December’s election.
Dr. Saikou T. Sabally, director of Hands On Care said they have been yearning to get such opportunity for a long time to build their own clinic. “This is the fruits of about four months long funding proposal developed by HOC and submitted to the Japanese Foreign Affairs Ministry through its Dakar Embassy to improve access to quality health and laboratory services.”
He said Hands on Care was founded in 1999 in response to the sexual and reproductive needs of the community and today it is providing high standard of treatment, care and support for chronically ill patients including People Living with HIV.
Dr. Sabally said they are providing sexual and reproductive health services in the context of home-based care. “We also provide treatment, care and support for chronically ill patients to enable them to live a productive and dignified life. These goals are addressed by a dedicated and qualified team of nurses and doctors.”
Deputy Director of National Aids Secretariat (NAS) Alpha Khan said HOC plays a pivotal role in training health care givers and assured the Japanese government that the project will be executed as planned.