Gambia: Japan Embassy Gives Two Ambulances to GRCS

The Japan government through its embassy, on Wednesday presented two brand new ambulances to the Gambia Red Cross Society, at a ceremony heldin Kanifing.

The vehicles, purchased at the tune of 66,503 Euros, equivalent to D2, 377,000, are meant to strengthen the Gambia Red Cross Society's community ambulance services in the Kanifing Municipality and the West Coast Region. The gesture would enable the Society to providethe community with a timely and reliable transport service to medical centres.

Handing over the vehicles to officials of the Red Cross, the first secretary at the Japan Embassy in The Gambia, Akiko Takano, said the two ambulances were purchased under her country'sGrant Assistance for Grass-roots Human Security projects.

Takano recalled that in February 2011 the ambassador of Japan to The Gambia and the secretary general of the Gambia Red Cross Society signed the grant contract to enhance community ambulance service. She underscored that the project is designed to provideBanjul and its suburbs withprompt and reliable medical transfer servicesto hospitals and clinics. "Japan believes that access to medical services is essential, ," she added.

The regional health director of Kanifing Municipality, Alagie Saine, noted that the GRCS has continued to partner with the Ministry of Health in ensuring equitable and accessible health care services for the people in the country. "The community ambulance service has been in existence for many years with great outcomes registered in the drive to [curb] casualties, as well as play crucial role in complementing public health ambulance services," he stated.

He explained that public health ambulance services focusgreater attention to emergenciesacute life-threatening conditions, and most especially, obstetric and pediatrics emergencies requiring special attention.

The president of the GRCS, Ebrima Sanneh, said the community ambulance service has since been part of their humanitarian intervention in the country. Assuring the donors that the vehicles would be used for the intended purpose, Sanneh also reaffirmed their commitment to complementing the efforts of The Gambia government in the area of humanitarian services.

The secretary general of GRCS, Bai Cham, said the ambulances will provide back-up service to the Health ministry in evacuating patients to nearest referral points.

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