PS Dahaba settles for better at MOH&SW
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Hello and a warm welcome to another edition of Health Promotion, a weekly health column that discusses basic health issues. In today’s edition, we bring you excerpts from our interview with the newly appointed permanent secretary at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
PS Dahaba prior to his assignment at the Health Ministry was the project coordinator of the UK Department for International Development’s Legal Capacity Building Project-The Gambia. The project entailed working with The Gambia Judiciary, Ministry of Justice and the Bar Association to improve performance, build the capacity and skills of staff and improve the infrastructure of these institutions.
He also worked for a number of years with the European Development Fund on decentralisation and governance issues; working closely with communities to identify development needs and preparing project proposals and budgets for technical support to community-based projects.
After acquiring a MSC in Project Planning and Management from the University of Bradford in the UK, Dahaba served as principal of Yorkshire College, UK where he was involved in planning and implementing academic programmes.
Below is an excerpt of our chat with the Health PS.
HP: Having been only working with the Ministry of Health for barely two months what have you achieved so far?
PS Dahaba: I have completed the national health policy which has been going on for seven years, and I have ensured and established more unity among the staff of the ministry. Also other departments vacate the old office and we are able to settle all the staff into their various offices without any of their work being affected.
HP: Staff of the ministry say that their is complete unity among staff of the ministry now than before. What actually led to that?
PS Dahaba: Unity is the strenght of any istitution if you are to make any meaningful contribution. Unity for us is important because it enables everyone to become a team player.
This is the pillar on which I stand and am with firm conviction that it is only through unity, hardwork and determination that we can achieve what the President of the Republic wishes for the health sector, which is to provide equitable and quality health service for every Gambian. This is why unity and dedication is the foundation on which I am building on.
HP: Everyone I talk to about you, describes you as a very hardworking and dedicated man, why do you think people give you such a title?
PS Dahaba: I have an agenda which is to implement the development agenda of the Gambian head of state particularly in the health sector. We all know that health is the president’s number one priority for the country, therefore we all should work hard towards archieving that goal.
HP: I heard since you took the mantle as the PS for the health sector, you conducted many surprise visits to many health facilities. Can you tell us why you did that?
PS Dahaba: My primary objective of visiting health facilities as such is to assess the performance and also to see for myself the health care service people are recieving at the various health facilities especially after official working hours when most staff do not expect any monitoring visits.
HP: What are the challenges faced by your Ministry?
PS Dahaba: Like any other ministry, the demand for services is increasing which puts so much pressure on resourses. The demand on resources that can meet the growing health needs of the people is our biggest challenge.
HP: The president has donated so many Ambulances to the health sector, can you dilate on that?
PS Dahaba: The Gambian leader, Sheikh Professor Dr. Alhaji Yahya AJJ Jammeh is a real philantropist at personal level. So far he has donated six Ambulances, two mini-vans and one utility vehicle to the health sector, three Ambulances to Bansang Hospital, one Ambulance to Sulayman Junkung Hospital in Bwiam, one Ambulance to Mayork Health Centre in Foni, one Ambulance to Tanka Tanka Pyschiatric Hospital in Sanlagi, one van to Bansang SCN School and one to Mansakonko CHN school and in addition he donated a utility vehicle to Bwiam Hospital.
HP: What would be your final remark?
PS Dahaba: I want to remind everyone that health is every one's business. This means everybody must contribute his or her quota to strenghten the health sector. No donation is small as long as it would go a long way in helping a patient in the Hospital. So I would therefore urge all and sundry to support the health sector of the country. It would in no small measure complement the efforts of the Gambian leader in national development particularly improving health.
HP: Thanks for speaking to the Observer Health Promotion.
PS Dahaba: It’s my pleasure.
Author: Sheriff Barry