Oct 7, 2011, 1:55 PM
A group of WHO consultants has arrived in The Gambia to assist the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
According to Momodou Gassama, Health Promotion Officer at the WHO Country Office, the consultants are conducting a training of trainers for a group of data focal points at central and regional levels.
Mr Gassama said key areas such as surveillance, data collection, analysis and reporting, cold chain, to name but a few, which are critical to the overall improvement of immunization services in the country, are covered.
The World Health Organisation is a specialised technical advisory of the United Nations, mandated and responsible for coordinating global health.
Being a technical agency, WHO's largest amount of resources goes into strengthening national health systems with a view to responding effectively to countries’ health needs and challenges.
Critical to strengthening national health systems is the need to train health workers (doctors, nurses, public health officers, etc), set norms and standards for delivery of quality health care and develop the requisite tools and guidelines to assist countries in improving their health systems.
In the context of The Gambia, Mr Gassama said: "It is hoped that the training will equip participants with the requisite skills to conduct proper documentation on immunization coverage and vaccine wastage."
He added that the mission will help to assess the National TB Programme performance, in particular drug management.
It is envisaged to provide technical support for programme management, case management and drug management, he says, adding: "It is also hoped that the mission will be able to provide support to the TB programme in determining the drug needs and prepare the drug request for the coming year."
The consultants, in collaboration with National TB Programme, are expected to conduct countrywide consultations with stakeholders at public-private health facilities during the mission.
A WHO consultant is currently assisting the National Malaria Control Programme in developing a work-plan and tools as well as assessing current strategies in support of a national situational on home management of malaria in The Gambia.
Effective home management of malaria, according to the National Malaria Control Programme, is a national concern as malaria still accounts for most of the frequent causes of illnesses in Gambian homes, leading to avoidable deaths and economic losses.
"It is hoped that at the end of the mission, the design and tools for the situation analysis will have been developed," he concluded.