Paper delivered by Mr. Fafa E. M'bai to the Gambia Bar Association conference at the Kairaba Beach Hotel on Friday 29th January 2010
Feb 10, 2010, 12:41 PM
According to Ecobank officials, the Day is an annual activity dedicated mainly to giving back to the communities where the bank operates, and is being celebrated across their network of 36 countries with a single bank concept.
“This is an integral part of Ecobank’s effort to make Africa a better place,” the Ecobank official said.
This year Ecobank Day celebration has taken a special dimension by injecting a cheque amounting to two hundred thousand dalasis to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare through Serekunda General Hospital as part of Ecobank’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) in contributing their quota to the fight against Malaria and Ebola.
According to Ecobank officials, “This year we are supporting malaria control and prevention across all the affiliates in Africa. That community-inspired day has been officially named ‘Ecobank Day’ and has been established as a corporate activity from last year onwards.”
The celebration of the Ecobank Day was characterized by a march-past from Ecobank headquarters on Kairaba Avenue to Serekunda General Hospital, led by the police band.
Moderated by Alagie Bai Ceesay, Ecobank Manager for Kanifing branch, the occasion was attended by senior government officials, religious leaders, and the managements and staffs of Ecobank and Serekunda General Hospital among others.
The Pan-African Bank was the first commercial bank in the country to contribute such a huge amount of money towards the fight against malaria and Ebola, thanks to the Bank’s MD Mareme Mbaye Ndiaye and her team, said Mayor Yankuba Colley and Dawda Ceesay, deputy permanent secretary technical at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony on behalf of the CEO, the Managing Director of Ecobank Gambia Madam Mareme Mbaye Ndiaye said: “I take this opportunity to deliver this speech on behalf of our Group Chief Executive Officer Mr Albert Essien, who has tasked me to extend his sincere greetings to the entire Gambian population on this very special day for Ecobank and its customers.
“The choice of this year’s theme stems from the fact that Africa bears 90 per cent of the world’s burden of malaria.”
MD Ndiaye said malaria occurs mostly in poor tropical and subtropical areas of the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, adding that in many affected countries, it is a leading cause of illness and death.
“The effects of malaria on individuals, families, communities and nations are enormous,” she added.
“Even from a business perspective, malaria impacts our business as a pan-African Bank in terms of how it affects the health of the bankable population in our current footprint.”
According to her, it is against this backdrop that Ecobank wants to be identified as a partner, working with local health authorities, NGOs and communities across Africa in the prevention and management of the environmental causes of these diseases.
“In The Gambia, significant strides have been registered by the Government, the Ministry of Health, NGOs and communities to eradicate malaria,” the Ecobank MD stated, adding that government initiated national cleansing days such as set setal, and other activities as well as the widespread distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets by government, CRS and other stakeholders, who “deserve commendation”.
She also asserted that the Ecobank Group had already chosen the fight against malaria as the theme for this year’s Ecobank day celebration several months ago, before Ebola became prevalent in West Africa.
“As we know, Guinea Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been the most severely affected countries,” she noted.
“The virus has since traversed borders in some cases, going well beyond West Africa.
“Ecobank must give support to these African nations by taking concrete corporate social responsibility initiatives. We have already made material and financial donations to the governments of Guinea, Liberia ad Sierra Leone to support their efforts to fight Ebola.”
The country Ecobank MD stated further: “As such, therefore, we thought it apt to factor Ebola prevention in addition to the campaign against malaria for the Ecobank day programme.
“This is why we have adjusted our campaign across the group with a revised slogan. ‘Malaria and Ebola’ prevention is better than cure.”
The Ecobank MD went on to strongly commend the Gambia Government, the Ministry of Health and all stakeholders for the solid steps taken to ensure that The Gambia remains an Ebola-free country.
This is evident through the massive sensitization campaigns, the close monitoring of people entering the country through its borders and such preventive measures as the widespread distribution of hand sanitizers, especially in public places, the Ecobank MD noted.
In his welcome remarks, the Chief Executive Officer of Serekunda General Hospital, Baba Njie, said the celebration of Ecobank Day is not only for the bank and the hospital, but for the whole of humanity.
He noted that Ecobank had joined the globe in the challenge to fight against these global diseases.
Mr Njie seized the opportunity to praise Ecobank for being the first commercial bank to come out and join the Ministry of Health in the fight to prevent the Ebola disease in The Gambia.
He thanked the CEO through the MD and staff of Ecobank for coming out with such a gesture, which is commendable and worthy of emulation.
According Mr Njie,there are lots of programmes going on at Serekunda General Hospital to enhance, facilitate and fight against Malaria.
Among them are malaria disease control, malaria indicators survey and the Demographic Health Survey (DHS).
“In all these, we have working relations with the National Malaria Programme, Medical Research Council (MRC) and the National Public Health Laboratory.
CEO Njie further thanked the Lord Mayor of KMC, who is also the chairman of the hospital board, for his support, the entire staff of Serekunda General Hospital and all their supporters in one way or the other.
The chairman of the board of Serekunda General Hospital, Mayor Yankuba Colley of the Kanifing Municipality, described the day as a historic moment for the municipality, for Ecobank’s coming out to support and celebrate “this great day” with them.
Mayor Colley further described Ecobank as a very responsible bank, which always supports at the right time and in the right place.
He noted that as the chairman of the SK General Hospital board, he is short of words to commend Ecobank and could only say thanks to Ecobank for coming out to support the newly-inaugurated hospital of The Gambia.
He pointed out: “Today we are witnessing another partnership with Ecobank, and will continue to foster the relationship.”
He assured the bank of their readiness to always bank with them.
He also seized the opportunity on behalf of his municipality to express his gratitude and appreciation to Ecobank for coming to their aid to support the prevention of Ebola and malaria, which are killer diseases.
He said Ecobank has been outstanding in improving corporate social responsibility.
He further thanked the Ministry of Health, the senior management of Serekunda General Hospital and the National Malaria Control Programme and other partners for their support in eradicating malaria and stopping Ebola from entering the country.
Speaking on behalf of Health Minister Omar Sey, the Deputy Permanent Secretary Technical, Dawda Ceesay, expressed gratitude for witnessing yet another historic moment of Ecobank to join and support in the fight against this deadly disease, under the theme: “prevention is better than cure”.
DPS Ceesay described the gesture as timely, and said it had come to the right place, while describing malaria and Ebola as M and E, which is to monitor and evaluate.
The gift from Ecobank was not a surprise to them as it was not the first time the bank has done it.
He recalled that in the past, Ecobank supported them in various initiatives at the Ministry of Health, among them was realising the Blood Bank Week, and it was gratifying to see their contribution, which indeed helped many needy people in terms of mobilising those valuable resources.
The DPS thanked the CEO and his general staff for their support to the Ministry of Health and the Government of The Gambia in fighting against the killer disease in The Gambia.
He said Ecobank’s contribution to the fight against the disease is a clear manifestation toward the realisation of the objective of 2018 to eliminate malaria in the country.
In his vote of thanks, the representative of the Director of Health Services, Mr Baldeh, thanked Ecobank for their timely intervention in supporting the Ministry of Health in eliminating malaria and preventing the Ebola disease from entering the country, which requires a worldwide effort.
He said that without help from the community the ministry alone cannot do it.