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Ministry receives support to pay for borrowed medical items

Jan 30, 2017, 11:45 AM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Catholic Relief Service (CRS) last Friday presented a cheque of D142,310 to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to help in the payment of medical items borrowed by the ministry in preparation of any sudden eventuality at the height of the recently solved political impasse.

Similarly, cheques of D100,000 and D75,000 was also donated by Actionaid International The Gambia and United Purpose, formally called Concern Universal, to Serrekunda General Hospital and Jammeh Foundation for Peace Hospital, respectively.

The two hospitals served as major referral hospitals and were providing round-the-clock services to patients as Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital was closed and patients, evacuated.

Speaking at the presentation held at CRS office, Ousman Njie, head of CRS Gambia Office, said the donation was meant to recognise the support and response provided to Gambians by the Ministry of Health during the political crisis.

“We have realised that during the political impasse, the Ministry of Health borrowed medical items because they could not reach out to the Ministry of Finance to provide the needed supplies,” he said, adding that through the donation, CRS wants to help the ministry to refund that money.

Omar Badjie, executive director of Actionaid International The Gambia, saluted the Ministry of Health for “being so braved at a moment when everybody ran away”.

He said during the uncertainty and fear that characterised the political impasse, the health ministry was there “to ensure that people who are sick have a place to go to”.

Mr Badjie said Actionaid’s contribution was part of its contribution to the development process of the country as well as strengthen their relationship with the government.

“We are in a new government and we are hopeful that this government will promote, encourage and enhance democracy, transparency and accountability which is very important,” he said.

He noted that Actionaid International The Gambia is “very hopeful” and is looking forward to a stronger relationship with the new government in the interest of the country.

Ismaila Jarju, United Purpose programme coordinator for Gambia, Senegal and Guinea Bissau, commended Ministry of Health for their commitment and love for The Gambia.

Saffie Lowe-Ceesay, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, said the past weeks have been trying times for every Gambian and non-Gambian living in The Gambia.

“A dark cloud came over the entire country leaving everyone thinking how we will survive the impending catastrophe, but our gallant doctors and nurses were not afraid by the impending danger as they mobilised and strategised on how best to salvage The Gambia and her people,” she said.

She explained that at the time of taking the loan of medical items, her “worst nightmare” was how the ministry will be able to pay it back.

“We are very much grateful for the gesture of solidarity,” she said while commending the institutions that supported the ministry and the hospitals.