By Yunus S Saliu
In their latest presentation, the UNICEF and USAID Tuesday, 6th September 2022 handed over Covid-19 Supplies worth over $500,000.00 to the Ministry of Health of The Gambia, this is in respond to the Covid-19 and other health emergencies.
The supplies were procured and delivered by the UNICEF with funding provided by the United States through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and it is part of the $2million USD project funded by the United States to help The Gambia with vaccines, communication and community engagement. And as well, the provision of essential health and water, sanitation, hygiene services, and access to safe water.
However, the project is implemented by UNICEF The Gambia office.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Gordon Jonathan Lewis, UNICEF Country Representative reminded everyone about the tremendous progress the country has recorded in fighting Covid-19 despites significant challenges and other competing priorities. Adding that intensive public awareness campaigns led by communities as driving vaccinations across the country and generating encouraging results.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, he noted, UNICEF has been working side by side with the Ministry of Health, providing critical support in numerous areas of strategic importance to counter the profound impact of the pandemic on the Gambia population. “Through our vast experience in global vaccine procurement and delivery, we have been able to deliver more than 648,510 doses of WHO-approved vaccines to the country, through the Covax plafrom. Additionally we have delivered 1,000,000 syringes since the start of the pandemic. These efforts have also been strengthened with the procurement and installation of an ultra-modern cold chain facility equipped with six freezers to help the country store any type of vaccine, as well as other biological products. More than ever before, The Gambia’s public health system is now better equipped to respond to the pandemic and other challenges.”
He, therefore, outlined the essential supplies donated under the USAID project valued at approximately $540,000 this included 14 Oxygen concentrators, 500 pulse oximeters 250infrared thermometers, 330 tablets for case management, vaccinators, and rapid response teams, 4 laptops to improve data management and record keeping, one laptop for storage in cloud, 3 Internet dongles to ensure internet access and for wider dissemination of data and reports, and considerable quantity of wash supplies focusing on infection prevention and control including chlorine, soap, powder soap, liquid soap, mops, buckets, brooms, gum boot, heavy duty gloves, jerry cans, garbage bin, reusable plastic apron for 76 health facilities, 50 schools and 80 public places. These facilities are nationwide and the beneficiary population will exceed 250,000 people.
However, through Ambassador Sharon L Cromer, he thanked the United State government for the generous contribution UNICEF which has made possible the procurement of the supplies.
Sharon L Cromer, United States Ambassador to The Gambia said “As part of our ongoing partnership to help preserve the good health and future of the Gambian people, this donation is the latest of many forms of assistance provided by the United States.”
“In addition to this latest contribution, the United States has donated more than 440,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to The Gambia through the COVAX program, and we continue to assist whenever the well-being of the Gambian people is at risk. We are proud to play a major role in helping Gambians stay safe and protected throughout these challenging times,” she added.
The Minister of Health, Dr Ahmadou Lamin Samateh thanked the partners while he used the occasion to dilate on some of the achievements recorded in the health sector especially during the pandemic to this time.
He disclosed that “These supplies will contribute immensely in our efforts to protect more people, including our frontline heroes, from COVID-19 and other diseases and deliver better services for the people of The Gambia,”
He expressed that “The Ministry of Health has made strong gains in bringing the virus under control, with more than 20% of the population now vaccinated thanks to our great teams and the support of our partners, including the US government and UNICEF.”
elaborated on the importance of the supplies which she said will contribute immensely to protect more people, including frontline heroes, from Covid-19 and other diseases and deliver better services for the people of The Gambia