Every year, Ecobank sets aside a day called “Ecobank Day” to support and give back to the communities we operate across our 33 countries in Africa.
In 2019, Ecobank kicked off a new three-year campaign “Together for Better Health” to raise awareness to prevent Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Non-communicable diseases are projected to exceed other diseases as the most common causes of death across the African continent by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.
In 2019, the Bank focused on Cancer and in 2020 on Diabetes and this year on Mental Health: Time to talk and Act.
During the presentation ceremony held at Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Clinic on Tuesday, Mr. Lamin Sanyang, head of Operations and Technology - Ecobank Gambia Ltd. explained that such interventions have become traditional for the Bank ‘in celebrating our annual Ecobank Day since 2013.’
“It is our flagship Corporate and Social Responsibility event and sees all Ecobankers demonstrably show their compassion, give up their spare time and ‘give back’ to their local communities, by helping deserving causes and vulnerable in our societies,” he said
Over the years, Ecobank Day has supported many deserving causes including orphanages, cancer screening, education, maternal healthcare, safer water supplies and malaria prevention.
Hence for this year, Mr. Sanyang said “Together for Better Health” campaign slogan adopted by the bank is aimed at raising awareness of mental health disorders.
“Mental health includes our emotional psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, act, feel, relate to others, gauge stress and make choices. Across the world over one billion people are suffering from mental health illness,” We’re encouraging everyone to show support and empathy to those suffering from mental health illnesses, so that society abandons the stigma and discrimination that has often surrounded it,” Sanyang added.
Dr. Momodou Gassama, representing the WHO Country Representative hailed Ecobank Gambia Ltd. for consistency in intervening to complement other efforts to fight non-communicable diseases in The Gambia.
“As we speak, 71% of all the total deaths that occur globally every year are due to Non-Communicable Diseases such as stroke, diabetes, cancer and mental health. So if Ecobank says we should talk about mental health, now is the right time to say it,” he explained.
He added that mental health is one of the most neglected aspects of health, adding that at the WHO, they believe there’s no health without mental health but that is forgotten and neglected.
According to him, nearly 75% of people with mental health issues and different mental health disorders in most of the developing countries do not have access to treatment.
The deputy chief matron of Tanka Tanka, Ms Jariatou Drammeh revealed that the most important routine at the unit is feeding. “Here in Tanka Tanka, patients are offered treatment for free”
“We experience constraints and these items from the Ecobank will go a long way in helping the unit to take care of the patients as government cannot do it all alone,” she highlighted.
Donated items include food items and detergents.