Apr 13, 2015, 10:12 AM
The presentation of the container, which comprised assortments of medical items, was geared towards ensuring Affecting Real Change contribute its quota to national development through the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
According to the donors, the loaded 40-foot container shipped from the UK, contained hospital equipment.
The donation came after a request made to Affecting Real Change - a UK/ Gambia/India registered charity - by Social Welfare Department of the Ministry of Health.
According to the donors, after the request was made, ARC was then provided with a list through the Social Welfare disability unit.
The container was then loaded and shipped to The Gambia with the items or materials on the list of request, “which are all in excellent working condition”.
Speaking at the handing-over ceremony, Director of Department of Social Welfare, Madam Fanta Bai Secka, said the gesture was very important to the department of social welfare as the equipment were meant for disabled persons, who are in great need of such items.
In The Gambia there is increasing number of persons with disabilities mainly due to non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and road accident, she said.
The disabilities unit of the Department of Social Welfare has a lot of demand from members of the disability community, especially for the production of artificial limbs but also with the supply of wheelchairs among others, which is in high demand.
She said:“There is real concern in the increase of persons with disabilities in this country and really we need to work hand in glove to ensure that we address this issue on time.
“Today we are very grateful to the donors for these equipment and materials donated to the disabilities unit of the Department of Social Welfare.”
She said the donation came at a time when it was highly needed, adding that it would be put into good use.
She also assured the donors that the doors of social welfare department are always open to collaborating with partners of development, saying the equipment will be used countrywide.
“I am very happy mobility constraints at the department of social welfare will be eased,” she said.
For his part, Musa Saidy, founder and secretary general of Affecting Real Change, said his charity has been working in The Gambia since 2002 with the Ministry of Education and in 2013 it extended its collaboration to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
The charity registered in 2010 in The Gambia and is also operating in the UK and India.
That was not the first container the charity had shipped to The Gambia, he stated, saying: “In 2013, we shipped a 40-foot container to The Gambia worth over ten million dalasis and the donation today is a 40-foot container worth over thirty five million dalasi and all these items are free medicals given to the Gambian people through this charity.”
He also stated that Affecting Real Change works with other partner charities in the UK such as PhysioNet, which supports disabled overseas, and Legs for Africa, which also contributed immensely to the shipping of the container.
“They have put in eight hundred prosthetic limps for amputees in The Gambia,” Mr Saidy disclosed, whilst thanking the Gambia government for creating an environment conducive for charities such as ARC to operate in The Gambia.
Mr Saidy revealed they intend to graduate from shipping containers of goods into The Gambia to construction of health centres across the country, as the charity is doing in India.
“We have built health centres in India, and ARC will start building health centres in The Gambia,” the ARC country coordinator said.
The rationale behind the charity is to help the people of The Gambia, Mr Saidy said: “I am very grateful to hand over these materials to the Department of Social Welfare, because while I was going to school I was sponsored by the Department of Social Welfare.”
He finally commended the three charities for making the event a reality in The Gambia.
In receiving the items on behalf of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health, Macki Taal, expressed appreciation, saying he was pleased and happy to associate with “this magnificent gesture towards boosting the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.”
Mr Taal commended the three partners - Affecting Real Change, LEGS for Africa and PhysioNet - for their intervention, saying their help would go a long way in helping the Gambian people, particularly the disabled.
He also said the ministry had assured the donors that the items would be put into good use and distributed to the right persons on time countrywide.
He described the founder as a real patriotic Gambian who has the country at heart, and challenged others to emulate Mr Saidy.