Aug 31, 2009, 4:43 AM
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Wednesday handed over a recently refurbished operating theatre at Kuntaur Health Centre to the community, at a handing-over ceremony held in Kuntaur.
The handing-over ceremony, graced by the minister of health, UNFPA assistant country representative, as well as community and staff of the Kuntaur Health Centre, among other dignitaries, was aimed at reducing maternal and infant mortality and reproductive health problems faced by women and children in the community.
The equipment included anesthetic machine, surgical gowns, gloves, ten delivery beds, and ten admission beds among other medical equipment.
Dr Omar Sey, minister of Health and Social Welfare, thanked UNFPA for helping not only Kuntaur but also the reproductive and child health component of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, and helping to tackle the problems of most vulnerable groups, that is, mother and child.
He said Kuntaur used to be a terrible place, but what is most important to note is that just recently during his tour, the President had observed there had been a great improvement in the health facility.
He said as a government, they are tasked to have a functional health facility with a functional operation system.
“Before September the Ministry of Health and all stakeholders are going to redefine the Kuntaur Hospital and expand it to make it a centre of excellence for the entire health service delivery,” he announced, adding that such a development would be emulated in the sub-region.
He urged all to put hands together and commit the necessary resources to ensure the dream is realised.
Momodou Mboge, assistant UNFPA country representative, in his remarks, said the refurbishment is a multi-million dalasi intervention from UNFPA which started with the refurbishment of the facility, and then procurement of equipment to ensuring there is quality maternal health service provision.
He said that with the new development, Kuntaur would be in a position to have major health facility in The Gambia that will be providing high quality reproductive health services.
He thanked the Ministry of Health for providing a highly trained qualified medical officer, “who is doing a wonderful job” at the health facility which is also made possible through the sound leadership of the UNFPA team in The Gambia, as well as their country team in Senegal.
UNFPA works with the government, he said, adding that their relations, especially through the Ministry of Health, have been in existence for over 30 years.
He added that UNFPA would continue to give support to further enhance provision of services and expansion in other specialized areas.
Saikou Trawally, director of population affairs at the Office of the Vice President, said the refurbishment of the health facility was aimed at ensuring safe motherhood, in line with ICPD agenda in addressing maternal and child health issues.
He said the gesture is another demonstration of their collective efforts.
The facility that has been refurbished here has received state-of-the-art equipment, provided by the UNFPA.
The long-term impact that it will have is to reduce maternal and infant mortality, he said, adding that since the work started the hospital has registered a lot successes.
He further stated that the facility has improved compared to how it was then, and hoped it will go a long way in supporting health care service in the community.
Chief Pierre Bah, in his remarks, said that before the intervention of UNFPA, referral from Kuntaur to Bansang was too much and sometimes patients would need blood, which is in short supply.
But with the UNFPA’s intervention Kuntaur health centre could be as equipped as Bansang Hospital.
Dr Lukas Jatta doctor-in-charge of the hospital, said the hospital’s theatre is rapidly getting higher in standard after the refurbishment from UNFPA, as they have done about 58 cases including maternal cases some of which were caesarian sections and others surgical and gynecological cases.
Sainey Cham, a woman beneficiary, said they are very happy as women, for the UNFPA’s intervention is geared towards easing their burden.
She said women have been having a safe delivery and receiving quality health service all the time at the health facility, for which she thanked the UNFPA.