Mar 24, 2015, 10:15 AM
The Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Hon. Fatim Badjie, has said that mental health is a priority of her ministry.
The minister made the remarks recently at the Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital in the West Coast Region during her familiarization tour of departments under her purview.
During the course of her visit to the hospital, Minister Badjie seized the opportunity to inaugurate the Tanka Tanka Vegetables Garden, borehole and solar power systems, donated by the Ambassador of the Netherlands in Dakar, Gerben de Jong.
Mr Jong donated €25,000 for the vegetable garden as part of his contribution to support the hospital garden.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister Badjie said government appreciated the contribution of the Dutch embassy, noting that their support towards Tanka Tanka “is a worthy cause”.
The initiative of coming up with a garden at the hospital is a good move, she said, adding that it would greatly help them to venture into agricultural activities in the hospital.
Mental health is very central to her ministry, she also says, adding that the ministry would do everything possible to support the mentally ill in the country.
Minister Badjie, who was impressed with the tour, commended the staff of Tanka Tanka for their dedication towards their work and assured them of her ministry’s support.
For his part, the ambassador of the Netherlands in Dakar, Gerden de Jong, thanked the Government of The Gambia for it’s care towards the mentally ill in the country.
He noted that through Anna Bouman of Tanka Tanka Foundation in Holland, MS Bouman was able to raise funds in Holland to the tune of €500,000 to build the Tanka Tanka Psychiatry Hospital in The Gambia whilst the Gambia government provided the land.
Anna Marie Mendy, the matron of Tanka Tanka, thanked the Dutch for their support and the minister for her moral boost.
Dawda Samba, also a staff of Tanka Tanka, commended the minister for the visit and appealed through the minister for the provision of vehicle for the hospital, noting: “This is one of the major problems the staff are currently facing.”
The Minister during the tour was accompanied by the deputy permanent secretary for Technical at the Ministry of Health, Omar Sey, and Professor Osman Nyan, Chief Medical Director of RVTH.