The Gambia government has allocated five hundred million dalasis (D500,000,000) to the Ministry of Health in order to support the fight against covid-19 pandemic in the country.
However, during a national assessment tour on the level of preparedness and response to covid-19, many officials in rural areas have bitterly complained to government through National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) over lack of enough resources to combat the disease.
Gibril Sanneh, principal nursing officer for Lower River Region (LRR) complained over lack of a quarantine centre to keep suspected people before referring them to the Medical Research Council (MRC) for testing.
He noted that there is need for government to provide adequate thermometers for effective testing of people’s body temperatures, saying the entire region has only one thermometer which he said affects their work.
“We also need oxygen concentrators (respirators) because we would like to attend certain patients before referring them elsewhere for test,” he said.
“Government should offer communication expense to stakeholders who are combating the disease in the regions.”
Lamin Jaiteh, NDMA regional coordinator for the Central River Region (CRR) called on government to supply sufficient fuel for the CRR Covid-19 Taskforce to ensure they travel across the region to fight the deadly disease effectively.
Jaiteh added that there is need for government to provide modern storage facilities so that women gardeners keep their perishable goods. “Women are no longer selling their products at lumos (weekly markets) because they are now locked down,” he added.
Hudul E.M Colley, NDMA coordinator for the Upper River Region (URR) called on government to bring enough working materials to the doorsteps of the coronavirus fighters to make sure they work harder in preventing the spread of the pandemic.
Speaking further, he said, the Covid-19 Taskforce for URR lacks sufficient mobility such as vehicles and motorbikes to travel to the four cardinal directions of the region to combat the disease.
Musa Kanteh, deputy governor of North Bank Region (NBR) said his region lacks a quarantine centre in order to keep suspects. He called on government to address this need with urgency.
Maimuna Bandeh, managing director of Bansang Community Radio said: “Bansang Community Radio has issued the CRR Covid-19 Communication Committee a free show to sensitise the public on the preventive measure of the disease. But the Radio Station lacks sufficient apparatus for effective communication.”
She appealed to government to supply some radio apparatus to her station.
Commissioner Kemeta Sambou, head of police in the Lower River Region (LRR) said the police officers are patrolling all sides of LRR but they lack protective gears such as gloves and face masks for self protection.
He added that the security officers lack adequate mobility as well as fuel to travel across the region. “We have a car but mostly we have to beg the governor for fuel to patrol,” he lamented.
In his response to the concerns, Sanna Dahaba, executive director for NDMA assured that government will tackle the challenges of all covid-19 regional taskforces as soon as possible.