Jun 16, 2020, 11:12 AM
It is too early to know the full impact of COVID-19 on Africa. To date the experience has been varied. There are causes for concern, but also reasons for hope.
Mr. President, the Covid-19 figures of The Gambia at the time of going to press stands at 63 deaths, 183 new positive cases 1,872 confirmed cases with 401 recoveries, 1,408 active cases (those in treatment) and 332 people are in quarantine which is still a large number. It is always good you give people the exact number of deaths and number of positive cases as this helps for records purposes.
The population is expecting to hear from your national address what your government intends to do especially in improving the health situation and reassure frontline workers of your government's support in all aspects since many of them who have contacted the virus have either resigned or taken leave without pay.
Mr. President, since the re-introduction of the state of emergency and curfew on 6 August 2020 with tough measures, people are now respecting the WHO rules but more emphasis and advocacy need to be done on the proper use of the facemasks.
People need to know that it's just not having a facemask around your neck or below the chin but having it properly worn by covering your nose and mouth to below the chin. People now believe the Covid-19 really exists because they have seen loved ones dead and buried by the Red Cross. May the Almighty Allah protect us, cure the sick and forgive the dead (Ameen).
Mr. President health sources have revealed to this medium that the main drivers of the pandemic in the country is the increased community transmission due to several factors, namely:
a) Many people do not adhere to the recommended safety and preventive measures.
b) The government's lack of adequate enforcement of the safety and prevention measures until lately.
c) The increased movement of ram dealers between here and Senegal before the Eid ul adha celebration.
d) Inadequate self isolation and quarantine measures of travellers and exposed local persons.
e) Inadequate amounts of PPEs for staff caring for the infected which has been ameliorated thanks to the recent gifts from China.
f) Seemingly poor or improper utilization of the funds that we are informed came into the country since the start of the pandemic, coupled with poor accountability to the nation.
g) People’s disbelief in the existence of the virus
With all of these factors, The Gambia is paying the price of negligence which we shouldn't allow to continue but take proper measures. Having received millions of dalasis as Covid-19 funds, the situation of the Health Ministry has still not improved.
Mr. President, the hospitals are still lacking human, technical and material resources with only two functioning ventilators presently located at the Sanatorium, whilst other three at the E.F.S.T.H. are not functioning due to lack of compressors.
About 200 Health personnel are currently off work due to either being on quarantine, self isolation or in treatment centres. Critically ill patients are being managed without the possibility of doing critically important tests such as blood gases or serum electrolytes, the imbalances of which can contribute to the premature deaths of some patients who are under treatment.
Mr. President, both border surveillance and Quarantine are not effectively carried out and/or supervised as reports have shown.
The only way forward is for the government to critically look at the Covid-19 response team and the way it has performed so far. It is time to mobilise very willing and able Gambians who have the nation's interest at heart, to be part of the nation's Covid-19 response team and not people who are only interested in filling their pockets.
Mr. President, despite the efforts of your government in the fight against Covid-19, it is scary that people are still entering The Gambia through our borders and not reporting to the quarantine centres.
Since the security services present at the borders don’t seem to be able to control the inflows, it is recommended that the National Army with clear instructions, be deployed to the country’s borders especially at strategic locations such as Farafenni, Amdalai, Giboro, Basse/ Wellingara, Brikama area and Soma etc. to enforce non entry into the country.
There should also be charges for people refusing to report to quarantine centres and those running away from quarantine centres.
Mr. President, you should take firm measures in this pandemic to secure the nation’s health regardless of what others say about the lockdown and curfew.
Finally Mr. President, seek medical advice from medical personnel and pay a visit to the quarantine centres and treatment centers to get first hand information of what is happening in those centers.
Seeing, they say is believing.