By Tabora Bojang
The QGroup Foundation yesterday started distributing free face masks to ten at-risk institutions to stem the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
The initiative dubbed Mask-up Campaign forms part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibilities in the fight against the global pandemic, in ensuring vulnerable institutions have access to free masks.
The handing over ceremony held at QCity, saw the distribution of 80,000 face masks to 5 major health care institutions, Gambia Police Force, the Armed Forces and 3 public tertiary institutions including the University of The Gambia.
The Gambia’s main referral health facility Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital received 10,000 face masks, Kanifing General Hospital 10,000, Brikama Hospital 10,000, Bundung Maternal and Child Health Hospital 5000 and SOS Mother and Child Clinic also receiving 5000 face masks.
The Police and Army each received 10,000 face masks, with the University of The Gambia also receiving 10,000 while Gambia Technical and Training Institute and Gambia College each receiving 5000 face masks.
“In coming up with this initiative, it is our hope that the masks will be used by needy patients who turn up at health facilities without masks, thus protecting our frontline health workers. It is our hope that the masks will be used to protect our security forces who are out in the streets to keep us safe. It is our hope that the masks will be used to protect our teachers, students and staff at our institutions of higher learning as they continue to pave the way for a brighter and better Gambia,” Isatou Secka-Jah director of Qgroup Foundation said.
Madam Jah reiterated that the QGroup Foundation is honoured to show resolve and commitment in supporting the government in the fight against Covid-19, saying the effect of the pandemic will long be felt for many years across all sectors of society, “so fighting it is everyone’s responsibility.”
Since the confirmation of the first case of Covid-19 in the country in March 2020, QGroup has been at the forefront in the fight with cash donation of over D2 million to GCCI and Ministry of Basic Education for the provision of essential sanitary materials for safe re-opening of schools. It also provided support for basic necessities such as rice, cooking oil and sugar to needy families worth D4.6 million, discount data rates for students and provision of free access to google GSUITE online programs for UTG, Gambia College and GTTI students.
A representative of Health Minister Babanding Sabally, who also doubles as the director of National Pharmaceutical Services, hailed QGroup’s contribution to national development, adding that their support will make a big difference in government’s drive to combat the invisible enemy.
He said the gesture comes at a time when new variants of Covid-19 have started emerging, as he called on citizens to continue respecting and adhering to the proclamations including social distancing, hand washing and avoidance of gatherings.
Colonel Dr Alkali Conteh, director of medical services at the Gambia Armed Forces and Assistant Commissioner of Police Alagie Joof both expressed gratitude to QGroup on behalf of their respective security institutions.
The officers promised that the donated face masks will be judiciously used to ensure men and women in uniform effectively perform their duties in enforcing Covid-19 regulations.
Other speakers including Alieu Darboe of UTG, public relations officers of Bundung Maternal Hospital and EFSTH Omar Ceesay and Kebba Sanneh, respectively, all hailed QGroup for their valuable intervention as they promised proper utilisation of the donated face masks.