By Omar Bah
President Adama Barrow yesterday presided over the opening of a week-long conference and scientific meeting of the West African College of Surgeons.
The Banjul convergence is attended by surgeons with specialization in anaesthesiology, dental surgery and subspecialties, ophthalmology, obstetrics and gynaecology, surgery (cardiothoracic, orthopaedics, paediatric, Urology etc) and Radiology.
Addressing participants at the Kairaba Beach Hotel, President Barrow said the meeting came at a time when The Gambia is entering a new phase of its political history.
“My administration is in its second year after a challenging period of over two decades. We are now in a new era in which our emphasis is on good governance, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law,” he said.
He intimated that the health sector stands out as one of his government’s top priority areas that need urgent actions.
“We are working carefully to build the required partnerships as we develop and implement a new health sector strategic plan in line with our National Development Plan,” he stated.
He commended the surgical College for the valuable work they are doing to support and improve the capacity of surgeons in the country.
“Let me emphasis that it is one of our priorities to revitalize the past traditional collaboration within the sub-region, whereby West African Health Organization- WAHO facilitates the secondment of surgical specialists from the sub-region to support our plans in building an effective residency programme for our Gambian surgeons,” he added.
The President also acknowledged the changes the College is making in responding to the sub-region’s concerns by training the middle level human resource base of health workers.
This, he added, will meet the needs of district hospitals and other health facilities in hard to reach areas of countries.
“For us to achieve Agenda 2063 in Africa, we need to reduce disease and poverty as the two are linked and challenging to have a healthy population who can work effectively for economic growth,” he concluded.