By Cherno Omar Bobb
Africmed Clinic, MFH Group and Matar Boye, a businessman, on Wednesday handed over medical items to The Gambia Red Cross Society (GRCS) for onward handing over to Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Red Cross Link who will be embarking on a community health fair in Latrikunda German on Saturday 22nd January 2022.
The Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Red Cross Link in partnership with the Ministry of Health will be organizing free-screening for diabetes, hypertension and body mass index, eye screening, Covid-19 vaccination, and voluntary Covid-19 testing at Ahmed Clinic ground in Latrikunda German for free.
In her remarks at the handing over ceremony held at GRCS headquarters in Kanifing, Rohey Kargbo, Treasurer for Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) said 2 years ago they held a successful health fair in Njawara where close to 3000 patients were seen in a day.
She added that some of the patients seen on the day confirmed to them that they had not seen a doctor for years but were given dignified care on the day.
She said their aim is to have the health fair yearly but due to Covid-19 it could not be organised last year.
Dr. Omar Jagne, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Africmed Clinic said healthcare is Gambia’s biggest need, noting that one can have all the money he/she needs but when he/she have an accident or heart attack beyond Brikama he/she is in a big problem.
This he said is because of what is available at hospitals beyond Brikama, highlighting that we cannot continue to live like this after over 50 years of independence.
He stated that it is possible to set up proper emergency units as well as equip ambulances with needed medical items.
According to Dr. Jagne, the cost of one Pajero vehicle is more than the cost of a whole emergency unit for a hospital and therefore called for attitudinal change towards our health sector.
“We must develop a culture of sustainability,” he also said while assuring VAD of their assistance whenever and wherever they can.
He noted that people must develop a culture of taking care of their health by regularly going for checkups but must also be educated.
“Every Gambian must at least have his/her urine, sugar and blood pressure tested once a year,” he advised.
Alasan Senghore, Secretary General for The Gambia Red Cross Society said during the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak there was not much information about Covid-19 and they supported Government through the Ministry of Health with their 2 fully equipped ambulances at the time to transfer patients.
Today, SG Senghore said they have 9 ambulances within the space of 2 years – some of them with advanced life support to ICU standards.
He observed that sometimes it take time for patients to be attended to when they get off the ambulance, and therefore questioned if we care about lives, health and welfare of people.
However, he said Government cannot do it all alone which is why they are doing their part as lives of people matter a lot for them.
He appealed to VAD to through the health fair integrate a strong aspect of health education and information for people’s attitudinal change to be going for checkups. He also thanked donors for the support and partnership.
VAD comprises of senior members of The Gambia Red Cross Society who aim to support the national society.
VAD’s objective is to allow volunteers to continue providing their professional services through the Red Cross to their communities.