By Saikou Ceesay
Fifteen medical doctors in the United States under the umbrella of the Gambia Collaborative Project (GCP) visited the Gambian Embassy in Washington, DC, on Friday to discuss with Ambassador Momodou Lamin Bah the strengthening of medical assistance to the West African country.
The meeting is part of preparations for the team of doctors to travel to The Gambia and render medical assistance in public health facilities. The team of doctors is expected to arrive in the country on January 25, 2024, for two weeks.
Ambassador Bah expressed delight at receiving the team of doctors who specialised in pediatrics, obgn-ynecology, family medicine, physical therapy, and infectious disease, among others. He said health remains a top priority for the government, and therefore, the Embassy would provide all the required support for the team to travel to Banjul.
Health, he added, has always been his concern, and he became very passionate when he served on the Board of Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital and also as a member of the COVID-19 Response Taskforce. He urged the team to institutionalise the initiative and make it a year-round activity.
Ambassador Bah indicated that contributions towards improving the health sector can be made in various forms, such as short-term visits, capacity building through virtual mode, and exchange programmes between health delivery and training institutions in The Gambia and the US.
He also emphasised the need to have modern medical equipment in the country, adding that it would make a huge difference in addressing some of the challenges facing the health sector.
Speaking on behalf of the doctors, Dr Draion Burch expressed the team’s profound gratitude to the Ambassador and the entire staff for the hospitality accorded to them. He said that as a team, they felt bolstered by the words of encouragement they received from the Ambassador. Dr Burch expressed delight at the vision shared by the Ambassador for the initiative to be a collaborative medical mission for The Gambia.
“We would do everything necessary to get the initiative institutionalised.” This gave us hope and reassurance to continue giving our utmost best to the people of The Gambia,” he said.
Dr Burch said they have taken note of the Ambassador’s plea for the provision of medical equipment and that they will make every effort towards addressing this need. He said they will help teach, train, and provide resources to the Gambian populace in conjunction with the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH), the University of The Gambia (UTG) School of Medicine and Allied Health, as well as the Ministry of Health.