20 February 2013

Gambia: Medical Experts On Hygiene, Quality and Standards of Care

Hygiene, quality and standards of care were the topics of intense discussion at a day seminar hosted by Bijilo Medical Centre on Saturday February 16th. The programme also featured the launching of a mutual partnership between Bijilo Medical Centre and International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (IAMAT) which aims to bridge the gap between travelers and healthcare providers worldwide.

In his welcoming remarks, Dr. Musa Touray, founder and medical director of Bijilo Medical Centre told the participants that travelling is a fundamental human activity, thus the need for health care providers to provide optimum healthcare and advice to travelers. "Hundreds of thousands of individuals travel in and out of our country each year. It's therefore our civil responsibility to assure that these individuals are guaranteed quality healthcare in case of need. Provision of such care requires a well coordinated pluridisciplinary approach. Ideally a multitude of different institutions collaborate to assure the health and safety of travelers and their host", he advanced.

Speaking on the topic "travel and medicine", Dr. Azhar Ahmad, IAMAT representative said his organization has been in existence for over 50 years and its objective is to ensure that travelers stay healthy during their sojourns. He added that IAMAT provides complete professional information on vaccination, illness, and disease risks, food and water safety. "We also offer diagnostic services to travelers and scholarship opportunities to doctors and nurses worldwide in order to enhance their expertise".

Mr. Ousainou Ceesay, a staff at Bijilo Medical Centre dilated on the topic "hygiene and food handling standards of care". He defined food hygiene as a discipline that ensures standard way of handling, preparation and storage of food with a view to preventing disease. He said the major micro organisms that usually involve in food poisoning and water contamination are viruses, hepatitis A & B, bacteria, fungus and protozoa. He added that food poisoning can be averted if pathogens are prevented from coming in contact with food or water.

Ceesay further expands on measures that can be taken to prevent food and water contamination: "Separate raw and cooked food to avoid contamination, store food at a proper temperature, use clean water and cooking utensils, and cook food for appropriate length of time and correct temperature to kill all pathogens".

The occasion also featured presentations on the topics "Malaria standard of care" and "tropical infectious diseases standards of care" by Mr. Buba Baldeh of Bijilo Medical Centre and Dr. Lamin Jaiteh of Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital respectively.

Watch out for Health and Nutrition Column on Friday for detail coverage.

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