The first four babies born in The Gambia in the year 2013 were Tuesday awarded by the Operation Save a Baby, an initiative championed by the First Lady of the Republic, Her Excellency Madam Zineb Yahya Jammeh, at a ceremony held at the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital (RVTH) in Banjul.
Each baby was presented the sum of D30, 000 by the vice president, Her Excellency Aja Dr Isatou Njie-Saidy, on behalf of the First Lady.
The first baby of the year was a girl from Pirang; the first baby girl of the year was from Serrekunda, but was delivered at RVTH, while the first baby boy of the year was born in Farafenni. The first twins of the year were delivered in Basse.
Presenting the gifts to the mothers of the newborn babies, VP Njie-Saidy paid tribute to all the sponsors of the event, describing them as household names in the country. She also applauded the staff of the RVTH for a job well done.
She said President Jammeh and the First Lady have done what they are supposed to do, while urging the general public to complement their efforts by rendering support to the initiative.
"I would like everyone, individuals and the private sector to complement and support the efforts of this initiative championed by the First Lady," she added.
VP Njie-Saidy also used the opportunity to applaud the mothers of the newborn babies and their families, saying the First Lady understands that these babies would be the future leaders of this country, therefore, assisting them means assisting the whole country.
She finally thanked all those who have put a single butut towards the cause, while wishing every Gambian a happy New Year.
Tombong Saidy, the chairman of Operation Save a Baby Committee, underlined the four categories of prizes. He explained that it goes to the first baby of the year, first baby girl, first baby boy and then the first twins of the year. He described 2013 as a very blissful and special year, noting that the first baby was a girl and that all the other newborns were from various part of the country.
He told the gathering that Gamcel is one of the main sponsors of Operation Save a Baby, and sponsors the first baby every year. He added that the first baby girl was sponsored by the Gambia International Airlines (GIA), while the first baby boy was sponsored by Social Security and Housing Finance Corporation(SSHFC), and the twins by the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA).
He added that each of the babies do get D30,000, with half of the amount to be spent on their naming ceremony, while the other half is kept in their bank accounts and would not be touched until they reach the age of 5.
Hon. Fatoumatta Jahumpa-Ceesay, a member of the Committee of the Operation Save a Baby, said that they are growing year by year, while thanking all the sponsors.
She disclosed that she was very proud to watch on a television station in another African country, where she heard the first lady of that particular country saying she would like to imitate the first lady of The Gambia in this bold initiative.