Jan 14, 2009, 5:14 AM
Minister of Health, Dr.Ahmad Lamin Samateh alongside senior health officials on
Tuesday visited Amdalai border post to assess the level of preparedness amid
the spread of the deadly coronavirus disease.
The move comes after Senegal on Monday reported its first COVID-19 case, being the second country in Sub-saharan Africa to confirm the contagious disease.
Speaking to the journalists, Minister Samateh acknowledged the challenging times people are currently working in since the first outbreak of the coronavirus disease in China, which later spread globally.
He explained that they had concerns before but that those concerns are more evident now with Senegal’s reporting its first COVID 19 case on Monday.
On the level of preparedness, Dr. Samateh highlighted that it is a continual process and that’s why they are out to see firsthand what had already been done at the border.
Minister Samateh maintained that the good thing is that lot of works have been done by the health officials.
“We’re doing lot of activities to enhance our preparedness when it comes to dealing with the coronavirus. We have improved on how people are going to be screened.”
Since the first outbreak started in China, he went on, his Ministry and its partners are doing all they could to sensitize the public and that alot of people now know about the disease.
Reacting to rumours trending on social media about the outbreak of COVID 19 in The Gambia, the minister had this to say. “People should stop spreading rumours. We should not say what we are not sure about.”
He advised the public to be regularly washing their hands, adding that application of alcohol hand sanitizers are equally important.
“We should not touch our faces with unwashed hands, especially the eye, nose and mouth.When we cough we should cover our mouth with tissues and one who sees fever should seek for medical check-ups. These are very important and simple measures that can protect all of us.”
Modou Njai, the Director of Health Promotion at the Ministry of Health, also expressed their resolve to strengthen the country’s borders as well as strengthen cross border collaboration between the two countries.
“It’s the only way we can move forward.We want to assure the public that the Ministry is working everyday to ensure that we strengthen our borders. 11 public health officers are now deployed at the Banjul International Airport to do screening and advise people”
Regarding plans for other border posts, Njai maintained that they are intensifying their efforts to strengthen border posts with equipment and the materials they need to carry out their work.
To that end, he said the Ministry wants to do more training to create more awareness about the pandemic.
“We want people to use our 1025 which everybody can call to ask if they have concerns or for things to be cleared. I advise people to also like our page on Facebook for updates.”
Njai equally appealed to people to report to the nearest health facilities, if any strange signs are seen, further advising the public not to seek for traditional treatment. When there are emergencies, some people want to disguise and deceive people that they can do something or treat.
He called on the support of the general public,further assuring that they will continue their community based surveillance.