#Article (Archive)

We Must Help Those Who Cannot Afford to Wait

Jul 20, 2009, 7:37 AM

How terrible it is for both the authors of the stories and those who have to read them on a regular basis. We are referring to what seems like the increasing number of cries for help that the journalists of all Gambian newspapers write and readers read which are seeking monetary aid to travel overseas for medical treatment. The process is a difficult one to say the least and the costs involved are simply beyond the means of most people. There are a number of issues which must be addressed. Firstly the process and cost involved in securing a medical report from the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital. This process costs D500 and can take up to one month to secure owing to the layers of beurocracy involved. When a person or child is as ill as this one month delay in securing a medical report can simply be a matter of life or death. The times involved must be reduced. If the family of the sick individual manages to secure the money and the medical report there then arises the issue of funding the trip. The costs involved can be extremely high but of course nobody wants to see their loved one die so they stop at nothing to try and raise the money. One of the ways people try to gather money is through the media and as a result people can get some idea of the number of people in this desperate situation.

Many people will ask why is there not better medical treatment available in The Gambia? Why must our citizens be forced to beg for help in the newspapers in order to raise the necessary funds to travel abroad for lifesaving treatment? These are very valid questions and questions which must be answered and addressed. If they are not our newspapers will continue to be filled with heartbreaking stories of people who are trapped in life or death situations and depending on the generosity of others to save them. It would of course be unrealistic to expect there to be a simple, quick fix solution to this issue but we must see more direct, positive action on the issue from government. Perhaps a government fund could be established that would allow people to travel until we have built up the necessary equipment here in The Gambia? Whatever the solution to the problem we must try to find it soon for the sake of those who face and who may face this terrible situation in the future.