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Dr Samba lives on!

Aug 1, 2016, 10:02 AM

The death of Dr Ebrahima Malick Samba, former Africa regional director of the World Health Organization, 1995 to 2005, was announced on Thursday and he was buried on Friday. It is Allah that gives and Allah has taken him away from us; such a direction all of us shall surely take. So we accept the plan of the almighty Allah for our lives.

In respect of his service to mankind, especially to the people of Africa, it will be very difficult to forget such a son of the soil, who positively affect the lives of countless numbers of Gambians through his support to their education, health and social wellbeing, as well as his service to humanity through his work at the RVTH and at the World Health Organisation (WHO). Dr Samba, 90, was president of the Banjul Muslim Elders.

For his selfless service to mankind, Dr Samba was designated Regional Director Emeritus by the 54th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Africa.

In a tribute to Dr Samba, current WHO Regional Director for Africa Dr Sambo said: “I would like to recognize and thank you immensely for the work you have done in the WHO Regional Office and for the African Region as you pushed the frontiers of health for all Africans everywhere. You are leaving behind many tangible and measurable achievements.”

The new Regional Director praised his predecessor for his vision, courage, openness and pragmatism as well as for his strong commitment to the eradication or elimination of such public health threats as river blindness, polio and female genital mutilation.

Dr Samba is also widely recognised for his service to mankind that the New York-based International Health Medical Education Consortium (IHMEC) also selected him for a Distinguished Service Award, an award bestowed on “individuals recognised for their outstanding and dedicated leadership in international health”.

“This Award is in recognition of your extraordinary achievements in improving the health of all Africans, and for your outstanding leadership and tireless commitment to the fight against diseases of poverty plaguing Africa. Your work is a source of inspiration and hope for us who are dedicated to equity in global health,” IHMEC’s President Dr David Hunt said upon the presentation of the ward to Dr Samba.

Dr Samba, whose career in international public health spans over four decades, also won in 1992 the prestigious Africa Prize of the Hunger Project for his exceptional leadership in the management of the Ouagadougou-based Onchorcerciasis Control Programme (OCP) into its final stage in eradicating river blindness in 11 oncho-endemic countries in West Africa.

A Gambian, this son of Africa once shared his views on Africa’s health predicament and how it needs the attention and support of the world, with the media group Africa Recovery (now called Africa Renewal).

Dr Samba said: “It is common sense for the non-Africans in the developed world to help Africa fight against… infectious diseases.... The more Africans are supported to fight against the diseases that plague Africa today, the greater the security of the developed world.”

Indeed, Dr Samba has physically left us, but his selfless service and its imprints in the sands of time, embellished with his generosity to humanity both at home and abroad, and his good spirit will continue to live with us, even as the annals of history continue to keep track of what he has done for humanity. Have a peaceful rest – Dr Samba!

“Dr Ebrima Malick Samba is ever living”

The Point