The World Health Organisation (WHO) last Friday presented medical supplies and equipment to the Ministry of Health at a handing over ceremony held at the Central Medical Store, Kotu.
The items range in size and value and include surgical face masks and disposable gloves, triple packaging isothermal cryobox and freezer boxes. The items, originating from various countries namely, China, India, and United Arab Emirates, cost over two hundred and seventeen thousand dollars (US$ 217,000).
Welcoming the gathering, Babanding Sabally, director of Pharmaceutical Services at the Ministry, reiterated that quality health services are synonymous to the availability of medicine and essential medical products.
He commended WHO for its constant support since the onset of the pandemic, acknowledging that the UN agency also played a crucial role in advocating for support from other partners to complement the government in fighting the pandemic.
"Our partners are cognizant of that fact and as a result they are always coming to our aid to complement whatever the government is doing."
The UN agency, he added, has been supportive to the country's health care sector not only technically but by providing the much-needed financial support to the country.
Presenting the items, Dr Desta Tiruneh, WHO representative in The Gambia, reminded that with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the past few years have been a difficult journey for people in The Gambia and around the globe.
He observed that from the start of the pandemic, WHO has been working in tandem with government, UN system, private sector and multilateral and bilateral partners to support in the development and implementation of a robust pandemic response strategy and guidelines.
"The close collaborative partnerships we have fostered has promoted a quick scale up of pandemic response in the country and helped us cushion the drastic blow of Covid-19."
Dr. Tiruneh described that the event was not only a celebration of those fruitful partnerships across sectors, but also a move to cement the relationship further in a show of shared commitment towards inproved public health in The Gambia.
"I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank our esteemed partners for their continued support to the WHO's emergency work in The Gambia. In particular, we would like to thank our most generous partners including the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Germany, France, Netherlands and Azerbaijan."
Receiving the items, Dr Ahmad Lamin Samateh, minister for Health, hailed the long standing partnership between the government of The Gambia and WHO.
This mutual partnership, he noted, is waxing stronger and stronger, acknowledging that WHO being a global leader in the health sector has really been performing their task to the expectations of the people of the world.
"Worldwide, certainly there needs to be a coordination of each activity of life, otherwise countries and people will be having their own notions, standards and ways of doing things. But we are fortunate to have an institution like the WHO that harmonises all this and sets out benchmarks that countries could use as standards and guidelines to measure performance, productivity and all parameters that need to be measured."
The WHO Gambia office, Minister Samateh acknowledged, has really been fulfilling that role, adding that since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the WHO country office and the entire UN system in The Gambia have worked harmoniously by exchanging ideas to ensure that the country responds adequately to Covid-19.