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Training on disaster preparedness and response underway

Jun 9, 2010, 1:19 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

The Epidemiology and Disaster Control and Suveillance Unit of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare recently held a four day workshop on the functions of responsibilities to control and prevent diseases and other adverse health conditions and events.

The workshop, held at the Kanifing Municipal Council hall, was organised to address among others, issues on floods by developing a multisectoral national plan.

Speaking at the occasion, the Director of Health Services Dr. Mamady Cham said that the gathering was meant to develop an emergency preparedness and response plan towards flood, adding that it is an essential step towards flood management including prevention, response and rehabilitation of victims.

Emphasising that disaster including flood is becoming a global phenomenon and the Gambia is no exception, Cham stated that over the years, the world over has witnessed numerous floods not only causing social disruption but often associated with disease outbreaks such as waterborne, water related and water washed diseases.

According to him, as flood victims are often displaced, their temporal residence may not be appropriate causing other forms of health challenges.

In the Gambia, he continued, we have witnessed incidences of flood in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 in various local government areas including KMC, Banjul and part of Western Region.

He said in 2005, cases of cholera a killer disease, were reported within the KMC particularly in Ebo-Town. "This doesn't only cause panic but consume huge resources particularly for the municipality and health sector in particular," he said.

He added that efforts geared towards the prevention and effective response to incidence of floods is timely and cherished. He called on the participants to co-operate during the workshop.

Deputising for the Mayor of KMC, the Deputy Mayor Yusupha Sanyang described the move as timely if not overdue in the sense that his municipality is the hardest hit and most affected by flood.

"I believe this is a step in the right direction and plus one for that matter," he stated.

He said that his council has been in the forefront of disaster preparedness and mitigation over the years, which saw the birth of the KMC Disaster Management Committee.