As part of its efforts to complement government in providing quality healthcare service for Gambians, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Tuesday donated hospital equipment worth US$1.6 million (an equivalent of GMD72.09 million) to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.
The presentation ceremony was held at the Ministry of Health’s warehouse in Kotu. The materials donated include maternal lifesaving drugs such as oxytocin, misoprostol, magnesium sulphate, egometrine, anesthesia machine, oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters, ultrasound scanners, delivery beds and operating mobile lights, amongst others.
Speaking at the presentation, Hon. Omar Sey, the minister of Health and Social Welfare, expressed his profound appreciation for the donation. He urged other partners to emulate UNFPA in complemeting Government.
He affirmed that The Gambia is the only country in the sub-region that provides free maternal and child healthcare services. He added that mothers in The Gambia don’t pay for antenatal services from conception to delivery.
“The issue of maternal and child health is dear to the heart of the President and the First Family, so UNFPA is directly complementing the efforts of the President of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia,” Minister Sey noted, adding that the donation received came at the right time to support the government’s initiative to provide accessible and quality healthcare services to the population.
For his part, Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA Gambia head of Office reminded that his office and The Gambia government’s partnership dates back 44 years ago and during this period, he said UNFPA’s continued support to government has seen the significant reduction of maternal mortality from 730 deaths for every 100,000 live births in 2001 to 430 deaths for every 100,000 live births in 2013.
The UNFPA boss went on to assure that his office will continue to partner with the government to improve healthcare service delivery in The Gambia, noting that this donation is a clear manifestation of that commitment.
“UNFPA is the sole provider of contraceptives and maternal lifesaving drugs in The Gambia as in many other countries and that partnership with the government of The Gambia will continue to ensure that every child born has a mother to guide his or her growth and development,” he stressed.
Giving the vote of thanks, the director of Social Welfare, Fanta Bai Secka assured UNFPA that the materials donated will be distributed immediately to the facilities that are in need of them.
She called for continued partnership and collaboration between UNFPA and the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to ensure that maternal healthcare services are enhanced in The Gambia for the benefits of mothers and children.
by Arfang MS Camara